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Mike Dean’s VAR tale – Reading Today Online

Mike Dean Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Mike Dean was one of my favourite Premier League referees, perhaps because he was so different from the rest. He was a one off, so much so that I have often warned new referees from following some of his actions on the pitch.

In a little ‘clear out’ of older Premier League referees earlier this season, a couple who were in my opinion the worst of the bunch, were offered jobs within the new setup at the PGMOL.

Mike was originally left out before being offered a post as a VAR. He has since left by mutual consent, saying that he loved refereeing but not being a VAR.

He has now taken up a position with a new Mail Sports podcast where he comments on refereeing decisions. It’s here that he has perhaps created the greatest controversy of his somewhat turbulent career.

Talking about his short time as a VAR, he revealed ‘a really bad call’ when deciding not to ask referee Andrew Taylor to review Spurs player, Cristian Romero pulling down Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella by his hair. His excuse was that Taylor was having a rough time and he didn’t want to make it any worse as he was a mate as well as a referee.

He has said since, that he feels that when he said ‘mate’, it has been blown out of context. When you get to a game he said, six people are your mates for the day. So, who are these ‘mates’ and what are their roles outlined in the Laws of the Game.

In the higher realms of the game, as well as two qualified assistant referees, there may be a fourth official, there could also be two additional assistant referees, but these were a prequel to the VAR and little if ever used today.

There may also be a reserve assistant referee who could take over from any of the above should they become injured. All these are known as ‘on field match officials’ and then of course we have the Video Assistant Referee and his assistant, the AVAR.

All these have their particular jobs to do but they have one overriding duty in the Laws of the Game. This is to assist the referee in controlling the match in accordance with the Laws of the Game, and assisting with offences when they have a clearer view than the referee.

The VAR’s task is to inform the referee of any clear and obvious error or serous missed incident. It is not to help a ‘mate’ who may be having a rough time.

By Dick Sawdon Smith

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