Mike Dean admits to error on Marc Cucurella hair pull during Tottenham-Chelsea

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Often hyperbole can get the better of descriptions in football, but it is fair to call Chelsea and Tottenham’s fixture at the weekend a battle. There was beef between managers Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte and the two teams did not hold back with their challenges.

The headline perhaps was an unpunished offence committed by Cristian Romero however, as in stoppage time he was caught yanking Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella over by his hair. It caused significant controversy as many could not understand why it was not picked up by VAR.

No stranger to controversy, it was Mike Dean who was in charge of reviewing the incident and writing in his column for the Daily Mail, he admitted it was oversight. The Telegraph covered his words.

“Sometimes in hindsight, you realise you could have acted differently.”

“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 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.”

While Chelsea fans will be frustrated that they were wronged by the referee, as they will see it, perhaps this is the first step to a healthier culture surrounding referees. If the officials are able to explain their decisions, it may well lead to less controversy, more transparency and ultimately a better relationship between referees, fans and players.


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