Referee Mike Dean is not assigned a Premier League game this weekend after asking to be taken off duty in the wake of death threats being sent to him and his family over controversial decisions against West Ham and Southampton
- Mike Dean will not take a Premier League match this weekend (February 13-15)
- It comes after a series of high-profile and controversial calls in recent matches
- Dean’s red cards for Tomas Soucek and Jan Bednarek last week were rescinded
- Dean and his family received death threats and he asked to be taken off duty
Mike Dean will not officiate a Premier League match this weekend after he was withdrawn from the top-flight’s official roster due to recent controversy.
Dean was widely criticised for sending off West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek at Fulham on Saturday for an alleged elbow after checking the call with VAR official Lee Mason, though the FA overturned the decision.
The 52-year-old and his family received death threats in the aftermath of the incident and Sportsmail revealed on Monday that the referee asked not to be selected for this weekend’s games.
Mike Dean will not referee a Premier League game this week after he asked to be taken off duty
Dean (left) sent off West Ham’s Tomas Soucek at Fulham on Saturday which was overturned
Dean reported the threats to Merseyside Police earlier this week but will still take charge of Wednesday’s FA Cup game between Leicester and Brighton.
Sportsmail understands the abuse was sent on social media platforms and, while Dean is known to be a resilient character within the Premier League hierarchy, the threats to his family were a step too far. Dean and wife Karam have two daughters and live on Merseyside.
Merseyside Police confirmed they were aware of the messages and vowed to investigate them and bring those responsible to justice.
Dean has now had two red cards overturned in two consecutive matches following his dismissals of West Ham’s Tomas Soucek and Jan Bednarek of Southampton.
The Czech midfielder’s elbow made contact with Fulham striker Mitrovic’s face on Saturday
Dean checked the call with VAR official Lee Mason on the pitchside monitor on Saturday
The official also denied Southampton a penalty against Aston Villa last week for a contentious handball call on Matty Cash, while he disallowed Saints striker Danny Ings’ a last-gasp equaliser due to a marginal offside call.
His most recent contentious call came in Saturday’s game between Fulham and West Ham where he decided to show Soucek a straight red card for violent conduct.
Replays showed Soucek lift his elbow in the direction of Aleksandar Mitrovic’s face but it seemed clear there was no malicious intent from the Czech midfielder.
Despite a lengthy video check, in which Dean watched several replays on the pitch-side monitor after being told to by VAR Mason, the official was adamant it was a sending off.
The official sent off Southampton’s Bednarek for a last-man challenge on Manchester United’s Anthony Martial last week, with the FA stepping in once again to rescind the sending off.
The FA overturned Soucek’s red card and also one brandished by Dean to Southampton defender Jan Bednarek last week
Mike Riley, managing director of the Professional Games Match Officials Ltd – who oversee referees in the professional English domestic game – described the messages as ‘abhorrent’ and supported Dean’s decision to report them to the police.
However, Keith Hackett – Riley’s predecessor as PGMOL chief – called for both Dean and Mason to step down from their duties, calling them ‘a hapless double act’.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters described the online abuse as ‘inexcusable’ amid a growing trend of online abuse directed at Premier League players, manager and staff.
Masters released a statement, saying: ‘This once again highlights the need for greater proactive intervention from social media companies to stop online abuse and identify offenders.’
Premier League chief Richard Masters condemned the treatment of Dean on Monday
Dean became the first referee to take 500 Premier League games and has refereed since 2000
Hammers midfielder also condemned the abuse towards Dean, tweeting: ‘Whatever decisions are made on the pitch should stay on the pitch.
‘I don’t like hearing about it interfering with personal life and I send Mike Dean and his family my support. There is no place for abuse of any kind. It is in the past.’
Dean became the first referee to oversee 500 Premier League games when he took charge of Arsenal against Sheffield United at the Emirates last season.
He has refereed in the Premier League since the year 2000 and has become known for his maverick personality on the pitch.
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