Mike Dean sensationally confesses he ignored VAR call in heated Chelsea-Tottenham clash because referee was 'his mate'

Aug 25, 2023 07:25 PM IST

The former Premier League referee made a colossal revelation over a VAR error during the heated Chelsea-Tottenham encounter in Premier League last season.

Former Premier League referee Mike Dean has confessed that he “missed” a hair-pull incident in a match between Chelsea and Tottenham in the league last season. Dean, who was the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for the match, decided not to alert on-field referee Anthony Taylor because he did not want to cause any “grief.”

Referee Mike Dean (centre) during a Premier League game(File)
Referee Mike Dean (centre) during a Premier League game(File)

The controversial decision took place during a 2-2 Premier League draw between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge last August.

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"I missed the stupid hair pull at Chelsea versus Tottenham which was pathetic from my point of view. It's one of them were if I had my time again, what would I do? I'd send Anthony to the screen. 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 told on Up Front podcast.

With Chelsea leading by two goals to one, Spurs defender Cristian Romero was seen pulling opposition left back Marc Cucurella to the ground by his hair at a corner late in the game. The match officials did not adjudge the incident to be a foul and Spurs scored an equaliser from the resultant corner.

The mistake proved to be quite costly and Mike Dean was stood down from the next Premier League fixture. The former British referee became a full-time VAR official last season. After acknowledging his mistake during the game between Chelsea and Tottenham, the 55-year-old also decided not to continue as a VAR.

“Probably I missed a few games because you get taken out of the limelight. That was a major error. If they don’t score from the corner it is not as big an issue. But I knew full well then I would be stood down the week after. I asked to take a bit of time off because it wasn’t for me. I used to get in the car on a Friday and was dreading Saturday. I was thinking, ‘I hope nothing happens’. I used to be petrified sitting in the chair,” Dean said.

Earlier this year in July, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) confirmed that Mike Dean will not continue in his role as a Premier League VAR official. With more than 2000 Premier League matches to his name, Dean has been the country’s one of the most experienced match officials.

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