The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has issued a response to Mike Dean’s contentious remarks regarding a VAR error he made intentionally to safeguard a fellow official.
Dean, who served as a referee for nearly three decades before retiring from that role in 2022, remained in the capacity of a video assistant referee (VAR) for the 2022/23 season. However, he faced a two-month suspension from his VAR duties after making a mistake during Tottenham’s intense 2-2 draw against Chelsea.
His subsequent comments on the matter have prompted the PGMOL to provide an official response.
Harry Kane scored a last minute equaliser but Cristiano Romero was not penalised for pulling the hair of Marc Cucurella prior to the leveller.
At the time Dean admitted he made the wrong call upon reflection and says he should have told man in the middle Anthony Taylor to check the incident on the VAR monitor.
However, in an appearance on theUp Front with Simon Jordanpodcast, Dean caused an almighty stir by confessing he didn’t send Taylor to the screen as he didn’t want to expose his “mate” to any more “grief”.
“I missed the stupid hair pull at Chelsea versus Tottenham which was pathetic from my point of view,” Dean said.
“It’s one of them where if I had my time again, what would I do? I’d send Anthony [Taylor] to the screen. I think I knew if I did send him to the screen … he’s cautioned both managers, he’s had a hell of a game, it’s been such a tough game end to end.
“I said to Anthony afterwards: ‘I just didn’t want to send you to the screen after what has gone on in the game’.
“I didn’t want to send him up because he is a mate as well as a referee and I think I didn’t want to send him up because I didn’t want any more grief than he already had.”
Dean’s remarks irked many and there is the danger of referees’ integrity being questioned as a result. That led to PGMOL Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) issuing a statement on the matter.
A spokesperson said: “VARs undergo extensive training with the focus centred entirely around effectively working with the on-field team of officials to rectify clear and obvious errors.
“When VARs identify a clear and obvious error by the on-field team and match officials, they should intervene and recommend a review by the referee. We strongly refute any suggestions that VARs do not intervene, for whatever reason, when they have identified a clear and obvious error.”
In the same podcast, Dean admitted his sending off of Jan Bednarek in Southampton’s 9-0 humbling of Manchester United was “completely wrong”.
The dismissal was subsequently overturned on appeal.
Dean explained: I’ve probably been over to the screen five or six times and for at least two of them, I could have stuck with my initial decision.
“Straight away, Manchester United versus Southampton comes to mind as I went to the screen for something and I sent a player off, which was completely wrong.”
Dean stepped down from his position ahead of the new season and immediately penned a deal with Sky Sports, where he will provide “match official insight” on the Gillette Soccer Saturday programme.