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Mike Dean speaks out over Romero/Cucurella hair-pulling incident

Dean has admitted that, upon reflection, he should have handled the situation differently


Premier League official Mike Dean has, on Thursday, finally spoken out over the controversial call not to punish Cristian Romero for his actions during last weekend’s meeting between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

The latest highly-anticipated Premier League London derby, of course, played out four days ago.

And, safe to say, the 90 minutes did not disappoint.

A pulsating affair, featuring four goals, VAR drama and more, ultimately culminated in the points being shared.

This came after goals on the part of Kalidou Koulibaly and Reece James appeared to have done enough to guide Chelsea to all three points.

Deep into injury time, however, Spurs struck a fatal blow, courtesy of star man Harry Kane:

And yet, in the hours and days that followed, it was not Kane’s last-gasp leveller which went on to take centre stage in the post-match chatter.

Instead, this came in the form of the chaos which reigned in the moments both before and after.

Causing particular fury on the part of those of a Chelsea persuasion was an exchange between Cristian Romero, and Marc Cucurella.

The moment in question saw stopper Romero drag Cucurella to the ground, courtesy of an altogether needless pulling of the Spaniard’s hair.

Upon initial viewing, referee Anthony Taylor decided not to award what looked a blatant free-kick in Chelsea’s favour.

The incident, in turn, was sent to VAR.

And yet, Mike Dean, the man charged with overseeing the Video Replay system at Stamford Bridge, too somehow came to the decision that Romero’s actions were not worthy of punishment, namely a red card for violent conduct.

Both Taylor, and Dean, in turn, have since been slated in the days since.

Now, though, as alluded to above, the latter has addressed the situation publicly for the first time.

Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Dean was not shy in admitting that he judged the incident poorly.

Hinting that Romero’s actions, in fact, were potentially worthy of a straight red card, the official went on to confirm that he ‘should have asked Taylor to visit his pitch side monitor’.

“Sometimes in hindsight, you realise you could have acted differently,” Dean began. “I’ve now had time to reflect on Sunday’s clash at Stamford Bridge.

“I asked referee Anthony Taylor to wait while I looked at the incident involving Tottenham’s Cristian Romero and Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella.

“I could not award a free-kick as VAR, but I could recommend to 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.”

He continued:

“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.

“The referee on field always has the final say. 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.”

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Conor Laird

Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.



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