Mike Dean used to abuse but Premier League ref felt family threats went too far

Mike Dean will not take charge of a Premier League game this weekend after death threats were sent to his family.

Dean, one of the game’s most high-profile referees, notified police after receiving threats and abusive messages – and has asked to be stood down.

He sent off Southampton’s Jan Bednarek last Tuesday and West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek on Saturday.

But Soucek won his appeal for wrongful dismissal yesterday, joining Bednarek in getting his sending off overturned.

Both red cards prompted a storm of criticism, with a “Get Mike Dean sacked” petition receiving thousands of signatures.

It is understood the Wirral-based official is used to receiving abuse but felt a line had been crossed when his family were targeted.

Referees chief Mike Riley said: "Threats of this nature are totally unacceptable. We fully support Mike's decision to report these messages to the police.

"Nobody should be victim of abhorrent messages like this. Online abuse is unacceptable in any walk of life. More needs to be done to tackle the problem."

Dean will honour a commitment to take charge of Leicester's FA Cup clash with Brighton on Wednesday.

But the 52-year-old, who had been due a break, will not be involved in any of this weekend’s Premier League games at his own request.

It is understood the threats were sent to private social media accounts belonging to members of Dean’s family on a number of platforms.

A Merseyside Police spokesperson said: "Officers are investigating and if we identify any offences we will take action.”

Former referee Dermot Gallagher said: “It's not a good place for Mike Dean to be. I feel for him and his family. I wouldn't wish this on anybody, it's terrible."

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