Mike Dean will not referee a game in the Premier League this weekend as his request to stand down was granted.
The 52-year-old and his family received death threats on social media after Dean had been involved in two controversial incidents last week.
Dean showed a red card to West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek for catching Aleksandar Mitrovic with his elbow late on during Saturday’s goalless draw at Fulham and also sent off Southampton defender Jan Bednarek in the midweek 9-0 defeat at Manchester United.
Both of the decisions – which followed Dean reviewing each incident on the pitchside monitor after consulting VAR – have since been overturned following an appeal.
Dean asked to be stood down from the next round of Premier League fixtures and was not included on the match officials list for the forthcoming weekend.
He will be in charge of the FA Cup fifth-round tie between Leicester and Brighton on Wednesday night, but is missing from the Premier League list which was published on Tuesday afternoon.
Professional Game Match Officials Board managing director and former referee Mike Riley offered Dean the organisation’s full support, while Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said the threats to Dean and his family were “inexcusable” and called for “greater proactive intervention” from social media companies.
A number of Premier League managers came out in support of Dean.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder – who also revealed the club have called in police to deal with online abuse aimed at their players – said such acts are “cowardly, disgusting and inhumane”.
“Mike Dean is an honourable referee and a decent guy, and these guys are doing their best, as the players and coaches are,” said Wilder.
“They don’t deserve it. It’s disgusting, the individuals need nailing and I wish I could nail them in my way, but I won’t be allowed to.
“We’ve all been subjected to the abuse and I think it’s cowardly, disgusting and inhumane. We’ve all suffered and shouldn’t have to. It isn’t football and it isn’t life. No-one should be able to get away with it.”
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, hailed Dean’s ability.
He said: “It’s really sad. I think Mike Dean is one of the best referees in the Premier League.
“Sometimes you can have critics, but insults are not tolerable, full-stop. The people to take care of this are the police. Unacceptable is the right word.”
Tottenham’s Jose Mourinho said that criticism of Dean on a professional level is one thing – but that threatening his family and entering his private life is another.
“I think something has to be done,” he said.
“Because one thing is professional life and what we do in our professional lives, and the success we have, the mistakes we make, the frustrations we have.
“Another thing is to go to the private life and go to the social life. And then, of course, something has to be done.”
Soucek also spoke out against the personal nature of the attacks levelled at Dean.
The Czech Republic international posted on Twitter: “Whatever decisions are made on the pitch should stay on the pitch.
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 and I’m now focused on the rest of the season https://t.co/Tcofvo8a9X
— Tomáš Souček (@tomassoucek28) February 8, 2021
“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 and I’m now focused on the rest of the season.”
Fellow referee Lee Mason has also come in for criticism having been the VAR on both incidents involving Dean in the past week.
The 49-year-old will also not referee a Premier League fixture at the weekend but will fulfil fourth official duties for Liverpool’s trip to Leicester on Saturday and the rearranged game between Everton and Manchester City four days later.
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