Graham Poll claims regularly poor officiating is harming West Ham's Champions League hopes

Graham Poll believes West Ham are being damaged by poor refereeing.

Former Premier League referee Graham Poll has told the Daily Mail that he thinks there are too many 'average referees' appointed to big games - and they are damaging West Ham's Champions League hopes.

The Hammers have enjoyed a superb season under Slaven Bilic, but the Croatian's hopes of guiding the club into the Champions League have been dented by some poor recent refereeing decisions.

Before the international break, West Ham were twice pegged back away at Chelsea, and both of Cesc Fabregas' equalisers - one from a free kick and one from the penalty spot - were contentious.

Then, the Hammers were leading 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace last weekend, before Cheikhou Kouyate was given a straight red card by referee Mark Clattenburg for a challenge on striker Dwight Gayle - and it was Gayle who swooped to score an equaliser and hand Palace a 2-2 draw.

Those four dropped points now have West Ham on the fringes of the top four, and had they won those two games, Bilic's men would now be sitting in one of the spots for Champions League qualification.

Kouyate's red card has since been rescinded ahead of this weekend's game against West Ham, but it won't bring back the two points that West Ham lost from his red card.

Now, former Premier League referee Graham Poll has told the Daily Mail that he is disappointed by the standard of officiating in the top flight now, and thinks that the poor decisions are particularly affecting West Ham and their Champions League hopes.

"We are seeing average referees appointed to big games and good referees lacking the confidence or motivation to perform at their very best every week," said Poll. "West Ham would be well placed to claim a Champions League place had decisions not gone against them regularly in recent games."

"We demand the best from our players and club managers, and it is time to do ask same from our officials and their managers, who hide away behind statistics rather than lead from the front," he added.

Do you think refereeing has been particularly poor against West Ham?

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