"Absolute farce" - Mike Dean responds to controversy on Sky Sports after bombshell interview 'angers' officials
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Mike Dean has broken his silence after claiming days ago that he made a VAR mistake in order to protect a fellow official.
For decades Dean was one of the Premier League most eccentric and lauded officials, before calling time on his career as a referee back in 2022.
He continued to stay on as video assistant referee (VAR) for the 2022/23 campaign however, only be dropped for two months following an error in a 2-2 draw between Spurs and Chelsea.
Harry Kane netted a last minute equaliser, a goal which was allowed despite his Spurs colleague Cristiano Romero having pulled Marc Cucurella's hair prior to the leveller.
Dean admitted at the time he made the wrong call and should have told referee Anthony Taylor to check the incident on the VAR monitor.
However, speaking on the Up Front with Simon Jordan podcast, Dean confessed that he purposefully chose not to send Taylor to the screen to ensure his "mate" was not exposed to any more "grief".
Dean sensationally claimed: "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.”
Naturally, the sensational admission caused an almighty backlash, with the PGMOL having been forced to release a statement on the matter, and the Mirror having claimed Premier League officials are furious with Dean's comments.
And Dean has finally responded.
After being grilled by Sky Sports News' Soccer Saturday presenter Simon Thomas, as well as pundits Clinton Morrison, Darren Bent and Tim Sherwood, Dean said: "Referring to him as a mate, what you've got to look at in context, you may not like some guys in your refereeing group. But when you get a game at the weekend there's four of you in the middle, a VAR and an Assistant VAR.
"Those six people, those are your mates for the day. You might play in a professional team, there is 11 players and 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. So the mate thing has been blown all out of proportion to be fair.
"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 but to say I didn't send him over because he was a mate is an absolute farce and it's just been blown all out of proportion to be honest with you, just people trying to make a story."
Dean added: "Both managers had been cautioned, he had cautioned about eight or nine players and I tried to protect the referee. Not because he's my mate but because I tried to protect the referee.
"I was wrong, I didn't have a game after that for three weeks so I paid the price. The buck stops with me and it was a bad mistake by myself.
"The wording I used was probably not the right word. If I said colleague it's a bit different. Because I used the word friend everyone thought 'Oh he's your best mate'. He's not my best mate, we're just mates on the day."