Mike Dean admits mistake over hair-pull in Tottenham and Chelsea game

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By Martin Graham | 19th Aug 2022

VAR official Mike Dean admits he made an error over in the controversial moment that saw Tottenham star Christian Romero pull Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella’s hair.

A game of many controversies at Stamford Bridge made the rounds but one of the biggest talking points came in the closing stages of the game. Just before a corner-kick, replays clearly showed Romero tugging at Cucurella’s hair and the sequence eventually led to Harry Kane’s equalizer in the sixth minute of added time of the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Many expected VAR to review the incident, cancel the goal and possibly even hand Romero a red-card. However, the incident was not even re-visited, leaving Chelsea furious in a match where managers Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel had a clash of their own.

Looking back at the incident after another review, Mike Dean, who retired as a referee after last season but has continued in a VAR role, accepts he made the wrong call there.


Mike Dean admits wrong decision in Chelsea vs Tottenham clash

The aftermath of that game has continued to spark opinions from Chelsea fans and neutrals alike, with many now starting to question the reason behind VAR if clear and obvious errors like the Cucurella one were ignored.

Forced to review his own decisions, Mike Dean has now accepted he made a wrong call.


“Sometimes in hindsight, you realise you could have acted differently. I’ve now had time to reflect on Sunday’s clash at Stamford Bridge,” he wrote in his column for MailPlus.

“I could not award a free-kick as VAR, but I could recommend to (Anthony) Taylor that he visit the referee review area to consider a possible red card.

“In the few seconds I had to study Romero pulling Cucurella’s hair, I didn’t deem it a violent act.

“I’ve since studied the footage, spoken to other referees and, upon reflection, I should have asked Taylor to visit his pitch-side monitor to take a look for himself.

“It goes to show that no matter how experienced you are, and I’ve spent more than two decades as a Premier League official, you are always learning.

“It’s disappointing for me as this was one incident in an otherwise very good weekend from our officials.”

VAR needs more consistency in English football

The introduction of VAR is not a problem but only becomes one in the hands of incompetent names. This has been the case since VAR made its way into English football and it is perhaps the use of the technology has seen more backlash in the Premier League compared to other top flights in Europe.

Incidents like this and Mike Dean’s latest admission only makes VAR look further like a joke and it is something that must be sorted before protests start and calls are made for the technology to be removed in the Premier League.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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