Premier League referee Mike Dean has received death threats against himself and his family, as the veteran official has been at the center of several big decisions in recent weeks.
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It is believed that Dean, 52, has asked to not work on a Premier League game this weekend but Dean will officiate the FA Cup last 16 tie between Leicester City and Brighton on Wednesday.
The abuse to Dean and his family comes after both he and Lee Mason, who work together in an officiating group, were at the heart of calls which have since been overturned and were deemed to be incorrect.
Mike Dean, Lee Mason at center of several contentious decisions
A red card to Jan Bednarek was overturned for Southampton at Manchester United, while Danny Ings’ late goal and a handball by Matty Cash for Aston Villa against the Saints was not given after lengthy VAR checks with Mason and Dean working in tandem.
On both occasions with the Bednarek and Soucek red cards, Dean was asked to go to the pitch-side monitor to look at something he hadn’t seen on the pitch. He was the VAR official for Mason the Cash handball and Ings offside goal.
Here is a statement from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the governing body for referees in the Premier League.
“Threats and abuse of this nature are totally unacceptable and we fully support Mike’s decision to report these messages his family received to the police. Nobody should be victim of abhorrent messages like this. Online abuse is unacceptable in any walk of life and more needs to be done to tackle the problem.”
Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher told our partners in the UK at Sky Sports the following.
“I’m not a great one for looking back, but when I was refereeing, I took stick in games or coming out to the car park afterwards. But when you went home that was then end of it. Unfortunately, now we have social media, and it goes on and on and on, creating avenues like this which are very distasteful,” Gallagher said.
“It’s not a good place for Mike Dean to be at the moment, I feel for him and his family. I worked with Mike many years ago and bump into him every now and then, he’s a very upbeat, happy guy. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody.”
Tomas Soucek red card overturned
One of the most contentious calls Dean oversaw was the red card to West Ham star Thomas Soucek right at the end of the Hammers’ draw at Fulham on Saturday.
West Ham appealed the red card, which was given after Dean checked VAR, and it was successful.
Soucek released the following statement as he will no longer serve a three-match ban.
“I am glad my red card against Fulham has been overturned. I’ve checked it, I’ve gone over 200 games without a single red card. My entire career. I am looking forward to helping the team in the important games this week! Thanks for your support,” Soucek said.