Death threats sent to referee Mike Dean and his family after Soucek red card
Dean has asked to be removed from consideration for Premier League matches next week
Referee Mike Dean was the recipient of death threats against himself and his family over the weekend. It is believed that the threats were in relation to the sending off of West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek in their game against Fulham.
According to Martyn Ziegler of The Times, Dean has asked to be removed from consideration for any Premier League match next week following the threats.
Dean is still expected to referee in the FA Cup on Wednesday, where he will officiate Leicester City vs Brighton & Hove Albion.
NEW: Death threats against referee Mike Dean were sent to his family over weekend + he has asked not to be involved in any Premier League match next week. Follows West Ham red card controversy. Full story on @TimesSport at 12
— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) February 8, 2021
Mike Riley, the head of the Professional Games Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL), which manages match officials involved in the Premier League, EFL and FA Cup, said: “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.
“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.”
Soucek had been facing a three-match ban for the red card, which was given after he was alleged to have elbowed Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrović in the face.
Many deemed the elbow to be accidental, and on Monday morning the red card and suspension was overturned.
We can confirm that Tomas Soucek’s red card in Saturday’s Premier League fixture against Fulham has been overturned on appeal.
— West Ham United (@WestHam) February 8, 2021
According to the report in The Times, the PGMOL are considering splitting up the officiating team of Dean and Lee Mason, who was acting as the VAR for the match at Craven Cottage.
The two, who are routinely paired together for fixtures, have been involved in a number of contentious decisions in recent weeks, such as Jan Bednarek's eventually overturned red card against Manchester United last week, as well as the decision not to award Southampton a penalty for a hand ball by Aston Villa defender Matty Cash in the Saints' previous Premier League game.
Following the match at Old Trafford, which they lost 9-0, Southampton reportedly requested that Dean not officiate any of their games going forward.