English Premier League referee Mike Dean has asked to be excused from officiating league matches this weekend after receiving abuse and death threats on social media.
The abuse was as a result of his controversial red cards in his last two matches.
The 52-year-old was criticised for sending off West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek for violent conduct after he appeared to accidentally strike Aleksandar Mitrovic in the Hammers’ 0-0 draw at Fulham on Saturday.
That incident came just four days after Dean sent off Southampton defender Jan Bednarek for a challenge on Anthony Martial in the Saints’ 9-0 thrashing at Manchester United.
Both decisions have been overturned on appeal with Soucek now available for West Ham’s FA Cup away trip to Manchester United on Tuesday evening as well as being available for the Premier League matches against Sheffield United and Tottenham.
In both cases Dean chose to give a red card after being advised to view the incident on the pitchside monitor by the video assistant referee (VAR).
Dean’s family has also been targeted with social media abuse. All abuse has been reported to the police.
However, the 52-year-old is still going to referee Wednesday’s FA cup game between Leicester and Brighton and may return to Premier League action the following weekend.
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By Ofhani Munyai