Mike Dean is reportedly set to pull out of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures at his request after issuing a complaint about his family receiving death threats.
Dean is one of the most high-profile referees in the country and has a reputation for being something of a character on the pitch.
However, it seems those who engage in mocking banter have now seriously crossed a line as Dean is now concerned for his and his family’s safety, according to BBC Sport.
The 52-year-old will still take charge of a midweek FA Cup tie, but has apparently asked not to be involved in the next round of Premier League matches.
This follows criticism of Dean for red cards issued to Southampton’s Jan Bednarek last week, and then again against West Ham’s Tomas Soucek at the weekend.
It’s sad to see incidents like this seeming to become increasingly common in modern football, with social media in particular seeming to give people the feeling that they have more of a license to send abuse to players and match officials.