Referee Mike Dean has asked to not be involved in any Premier League games this weekend after he was targeted with online death threats alongside members of his family.
The death threats have been reported to the police and Dean is still set to referee the FA Cup tie between Leicester City and Brighton on Wednesday but won’t be involved in the weekend league games.
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Dean and his family received the abuse after he handed a controversial red card to West Ham United’s Tomas Soucek during the 0-0 draw with Fulham on Saturday.
“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,” Professional Games Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) managing director Mike Riley said.
“Nobody should be a 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.”
Dean reviewed the incident between Soucek and Aleksandar Mitrovic after the video assistant referee Lee Mason advised him that the pair had collided. A review of the video showed Soucek catching Mitrovic with his elbow in what appeared to be an accident.
However, Dean decided to send him off for violent conduct.
West Ham were successful in their appeal of the red card and Soucek thanked fans for their support.
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!#westham #whu #COYI pic.twitter.com/wANFeAFmhf
— Tomáš Souček (@tomassoucek28) February 8, 2021
“I am glad my red card against Fulham has been overturned,” he said on Twitter.
“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!”
The incident with Soucek was the latest in a number of controversial decisions handed down by Mason and Dean, who are often paired together for games.
Last week, Southampton’s Jan Bednarek was sent off against Manchester United by Dean for infringing on a goal-scoring opportunity but had the red card overturned two days later.
The pair also denied Southampton a penalty against Aston Villa last weekend in another controversial decision.
The Times is reporting that the PGMOL are considering separating the two referees for a short spell.