Former Premier League referee Mike Dean said a reference to fellow official Anthony Taylor as a “mate” had been “blown out of context”, days after saying he did not alert Taylor to a referring mistake last season to spare him “more grief”.
Dean, 55, was the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) during a fiery 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge last August when Tottenham Hotspur defender Cristian Romero pulled Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella to the ground by his hair at a corner.
The foul was not given by on-field referee Taylor, and Spurs scored a last-gasp equaliser during the resulting play.
Dean said later he did not want to send Taylor to the VAR screen to view the incident as he was a “mate” and wanted to spare him “more grief”.
In a statement on Friday, the referees’ body, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), said it refuted any suggestion VAR officials do not intervene when they spot an obvious error.
“It has all been blown out of context. Referring to him as a mate, you have got to look at it in context,” Dean told Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, referring to Taylor.
“You might not like some guys in your refereeing group, but when you get a game on the weekend, there are four of you in the middle, a VAR and an AVR. Those six people are your mates for the day. The mate thing has been blown all out of proportion.”
Dean, who refereed more than 550 matches in the top flight and became a full-time VAR official last season, was taken off VAR duty for two months after the match.
In July, the PGMOL said Dean was stepping down from the role and leaving the referees’ organisation.
“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,” Dean, who acknowledged his mistake at the time of the incident, added.
“It was wrong, and I paid the price. I didn’t have a game for three weeks after that. The buck stops with me. He’s not my best mate; we are just mates on the day.”
“Anthony shouldn’t get any grief, it’s me that should get the grief, and I have had the grief. I got the grief when it first happened 15 months ago. It’s my fault. I apologised last year to the whole group.”