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Referee Poll to retire after Euro 2008 qualifier

Premiership referee Graham Poll has confirmed his retirement.

The former World Cup official took charge of his last match in England in the Coca-Cola Championship play-off final at Wembley yesterday.

He will bow out after next Wednesday's Euro 2008 qualifier between Finland and Belgium in Helsinki.

The 43-year-old's decision had been widely expected and the Professional Game Match Officials Limited today confirmed they had accepted his resignation.

Poll, from Tring, has had a successful career at the top level but will be best remembered for the controversies, not least at last year's World Cup.

Poll infamously showed Croatia's Josip Simunic three yellow cards before sending him off in a match against Australia in Germany.

He first began refereeing in the Premiership in 1995 and quickly earned a reputation for showing cards.

Despite that he went on to become one of the most respected referees in the English game and was appointed to other major tournaments at Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup. He also took charge of the FA Cup final in 2000.

The way Poll has decided to bow out is said to have angered his boss Keith Hackett, the general manager of the PGMO.

Poll is understood to have informed commercial agents and the media of his retirement before his employer.

A statement read: 'The PGMO can today confirm it has received, and accepted, Graham Poll's resignation.'