English referee Poll quits international soccer after World Cup mistake

English referee Graham Poll, who showed a Croatian player three yellow cards before sending him off in a World Cup match, is quitting international refereeing.

The experienced Premier League referee told Britain's Sky Sports television Thursday that he had considered retiring from all soccer after his blunder, which meant a Croatian player stayed on the field three minutes longer than he should have in a group stage game against Australia.

The result of the match, which was a 2-2 draw, was not affected and Croatia was eliminated. However if the result had changed as a result of Poll's blunder, one of the teams could have demanded the match be replayed.

Poll and Russian referee Valentin Ivanov, who handed out a record number of cautions and sendings off in the Portugal-Netherlands second-round match, were omitted from officials selected for the quarterfinals, semifinals and final.

They were among 14 referees who did not make the cut for the final stages.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has criticized the standard of refereeing at the World Cup, saying it is inconsistent and that orders given to referees before the tournament to clamp down on foul play were only being followed patchily.

Poll said he had decided to continue refereeing in the English Premier League.

The 42-year-old referee took complete responsibility for the error.

Minutes after sending off an Australia and a Croatia player in the 87th minute, Poll showed Josip Simunic a second yellow card but did not send him off. He was shown a third yellow card and sent off after the game ended, three minutes after receiving the second card.

"Certainly what happened a week ago is something I deeply regret. Inexcusably, I made an error in law and most mistakes, most discussion, most controversy surrounds opinion and they are things we can always debate.

"But what I did was an error in law and for that there can be no dispute. It wasn't caused by a FIFA directive or because I referee differently than what I do in the Premier League," Poll said, reports AP.


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