Mike Dean says comments about protecting Anthony Taylor have been ‘blown completely out of proportion’… as he explains he simply wanted to protect a referee and not a ‘mate’
- Dean says that he protected Anthony Taylor, but not because they were ‘mates’
- He believes that the word ‘mate’ has been misunderstood in his explanation
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Mike Dean has clarified his comments about protecting Anthony Taylor from abuse, saying that the friendship aspect has been ‘blown completely out of proportion’.
Dean had said on Simon Jordan’s ‘Up Front’ podcast that, while he was a VAR official on the heated Chelsea-Spurs match in April 2022, he did not send referee Taylor to review Cristian Romero’s controversial hair pull on Marc Cucurella because he wanted to protect his ‘mate’ from further ire.
The former Premier League referee has received criticism for his remarks but now insists that the friendship element was overstated, suggesting that ‘mate’ is merely a substitute term for a fellow official.
‘To say I didn’t send him over to the screen because he’s a mate is an absolute farce,’ he said on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday.
‘Referring to him as a mate, you might not like some guys in your refereeing group, but when you get a game on the weekend, there’s four of you in the middle, there’s the VAR and Assistant VAR, and that’s them six people – they’re your mates for the day.
Mike Dean explained that he decided not to send Anthony Taylor to review the hair pull in Chelsea vs Spurs simply because he wanted to protect a fellow referee, not due to friendship
Cristian Romero [centre] tugged Marc Cucurella’s hair just moments before Spurs equalised in stoppage time during a furious game
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‘You might play in a professional team. There’s 11 players, 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.
‘The “mate” thing has been blown out of proportion. I want to support the referee as much as I can, and that’s what you do as a VAR [official]. Yes, it was wrong, and I should have sent him to the screen, but to say I didn’t send him over because he’s a “mate” is an absolute farce and it’s just been all blown out of proportion.
‘I tried to protect the referee – not because he’s my “mate”, but because I tried to protect the referee. It was wrong and I paid the price. I didn’t have a game for three weeks after that. The buck stops with me and it was a bad mistake.’
He added: ‘If I said “colleague”, it’s a bit different.’
Dean has admitted in the past that he got it wrong, with Harry Kane going on to score a dramatic equaliser after the error, and retains that stance today.
Both Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte had already been booked, as well as multiple players. After Kane’s equalisers, both managers were sent off on an anarchical afternoon, with tempers between both teams flaring in a heated London derby.
Speaking to Jordan, Dean said: ”I missed the stupid hair pull at Chelsea versus Tottenham which was pathetic from my point of view.
‘It’s one of them where if I had my time again, what would I do? I’d send Anthony [Taylor] to the screen. I think I knew if I did send him to the screen … he’s cautioned both managers, he’s had a hell of a game, it’s been such a tough game end to end.
‘I said to Anthony afterwards: “I just didn’t want to send you to the screen after what has gone on in the game”.
‘I didn’t want to send him up because he is a mate as well as a referee and I think I didn’t want to send him up because I didn’t want any more grief than he already had.’
Dean long ago admitted he made an error and stands by that assessment today