Referees chief Mike Riley has backed the request of Mike Dean to stand himself down from officiating at a Premier League game this weekend after he and his family received death threats on social media.
Dean, 52, had been involved in two controversial incidents this week and the threats have been reported to the police.
The referee showed a red card to West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek on Saturday after he caught Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic with his elbow late on during the 0-0 draw.
That prompted an angry response from David Moyes, with the Hammers boss calling the decision ’embarrassing’.
Dean also sent off Southampton defender Jan Bednarek in the 9-0 defeat at Manchester United.
Both of the decisions saw Dean review each incident on the pitchside monitor after consulting VAR and have since been overturned following an appeal.
It’s understood both Dean and his family received abuse on social media over the weekend, including death threats. These have been, quite rightly, reported to the authorities.
Dean will be in charge of the FA Cup fifth-round tie between Leicester and Brighton on Wednesday night. However, he’s requested not to be involved in a Premier League match at the weekend.
PGMOL support to Dean
PGMOL managing director Riley offered the organisation’s full support to Dean and has been quick to condemn the abuse.
“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,” Riley said in a PGMOL statement.
“Nobody should be 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.”