Peter Crouch (above) will miss England’s Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel this Saturday after being booked during July’s 3-0 win over Estonia. The former QPR skyscraping striker, currently riding the pine for Liverpool, will have to progress through future international play without the assistance of a very high profile observer. From Wednesday’s Guardian :
Former referee Graham Poll has claimed the game’s top officials were told to “look out for” England striker Peter Crouch.
Poll says World Cup referees in Germany last summer were told to keep a close eye on Crouch because of his distinctively rangy playing style. “At the World Cup last year we were shown videos of games and the head of refereeing at Fifa said, ‘Look at this big fella Crouch, he’s a real pain and he’s getting away with too much. We need to mark him out as a player we need to look out for.’ We watched England’s warm-up games, and had been out there for two or three weeks before, and it was pointed out the way he used his arms. I tried to defend him, being English.”
Poll himself is no stranger to controversy. In Croatia’s clash against Australia in the 2006 World Cup the referee, who retired this summer, notoriously gave Josip Simunic three yellow cards before sending him off.
While there’s no truth to the rumor Tim Donaghy has applied for a FIFA referee badge, I can fully understand why football’s authority figures would want to keep a close eye on Crouch.