Mike Dean claims it is “an absolute farce” to suggest he didn’t send Anthony Taylor to the pitchside monitor because he was his “mate”. The former referee received a live TV grilling on Soccer Saturday following his revelations about a Premier League game last season.
Dean admitted this week that he made a huge error in the clash between Chelsea and Tottenham last August. He was on VAR duty and chose not to recommend an on-field review after Cristian Romero had pulled Marc Cucurella’s hair in the build-up to Harry Kane’s 96th-minute equaliser.
Dean claimed that he decided against the referral due to the fiery nature of the encounter where referee Taylor was kept extremely busy by both sets of players and dugouts. He also said the fact Taylor was a “mate” also came into his decision as he didn’t want him to receive any further grief.
The revelation has led to huge criticism and the PGMOL released a statement on Friday re-emphasising the role of a VAR official. Current Premier League officials are also said to be furious at Dean’s comments.
Dean now works as an expert for Sky Sports and made his first appearance since the admission on their Soccer Saturday programme. Dean was given a grilling by presenter Simon Thomas, as well as from the likes of Clinton Morrison and Tim Sherwood.
But he came out fighting, insisting that his use of the word “mate” has been blown completely out of proportion. Dean said: “Referring to him as a mate, what you’ve got to look at in context, you may not like some guys in your refereeing group. But when you get a game at the weekend there’s four of you in the middle, a VAR and an Assistant VAR.
“Those six people, those are your mates for the day. You might play in a professional team, there is 11 players and you might not like three or four of them.
“But at 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, they’re your mates and you want your mates to do well. So the mate thing has been blown all out of proportion to be fair.
“I want to support the referee as much as I can and that’s what you do as a VAR. Yes I was wrong and I should have sent him to the screen but to say I didn’t send him over because he was a mate is an absolute farce and it’s just been blown all out of proportion to be honest with you, just people trying to make a story.”
Dean says he tried to protect Taylor on the day and admits he got his wording wrong by calling him a mate. He added: “Both managers had been cautioned, he had cautioned about eight or nine players and I tried to protect the referee. Not because he’s my mate but because I tried to protect the referee.
“I was wrong, I didn’t have a game after that for three weeks so I paid the price. The buck stops with me and it was a bad mistake by myself.
“The wording I used was probably not the right word. If I said colleague it’s a bit different. Because I used the word friend everyone thought ‘Oh he’s your best mate’. He’s not my best mate, we’re just mates on the day.”
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