Premier League referees Mike Dean and Lee Mason have been branded ‘a pair of idiots’ by Simon Jordan after another controversial weekend for officials in the English top-flight.
The pair came under fire on Saturday following the decision from on-pitch referee Dean to send Tomas Soucek off for ‘elbowing’ Aleksandar Mitrovic during West Ham’s 0-0 draw at Fulham, which was backed up by Video Assistant Referee Mason at Stockley Park.
The decision was widely condemned after the game, with contact appearing accidental despite Mason’s apparent insistence that Soucek’s clenched fist showed an intent to hurt his opponent.
However, it was announced on Monday that the red card call has been overturned and the Hammers star’s suspension rescinded following an appeal from the east London club.
It marks the second such intervention from the Football Association over one of Dean’s decisions in the space of a week, with his call to send off Southampton’s Jan Bednarek during their 9-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford also later being overturned by the FA.
Dean, a Premier League referee for 20 years, has now requested not to be involved in any top-flight games this weekend after death threats were aimed at his family.
The weekend’s incidents were also the latest in a series of controversial calls that have been subject to huge criticism from football supporters and pundits, including David Luiz’s sending off in Arsenal’s defeat to Wolves last week.
VAR has largely copped the blame, with Danny Murphy telling talkSPORT the technology is ‘creating chaos’ and branding a number of recent decisions ‘a joke’.
“It’s just chaos, there’s absolute chaos going on,” the former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder told Jim White on Monday.
“I don’t know whether the referees are confused, if there are too many cooks or what, but VAR is creating chaos.
“The officiating is not good, it’s got worse, which doesn’t help VAR, and I just think something has got to change. It’s becoming hard work watching football, it’s hard work waiting and waiting and getting frustrated when they get such easy decisions wrong.
“David Luiz getting sent off was a joke. Bednerek was a joke. Soucek was a joke.
“This isn’t football, this is not what we want, we don’t want to be waiting every time a goal is scored to see if it’s okay – I hate it.”
But talkSPORT pundit Jordan insists the VAR technology has become a scapegoat for the declining standards of refereeing in English football, as well as the presence of ‘idiot’ officials like Dean and Mason.
And he hammered the pair for their performance at the weekend.
“It has to be the implementation,” said the ex-Crystal Palace owner. “VAR itself isn’t wrong, it’s the implementation. It’s the rules that underlay it.
“VAR is a protocol of using a video to analyse an event, then you deploy the rule on it, then you employ a human over the top of it.
“If the rule is an ass and the human interpretation of it, or the humans themselves aren’t very good at what they do, ala Mike Dean and Lee Mason who were a pair of idiots on Saturday…
“Then you’ve got a situation where VAR couldn’t help anybody in any instance, if the people who are implement it AREN’T. FIT. FOR. PURPOSE!
“The endless deluge of criticism from the media analysis and managers standing on the touchline has driven the introduction of VAR. Referees have been absolutely mullered with death threats and constant questions around their refereeing quality, so we bring in VAR.
“But now we’ve made VAR the criminal rather than the standard of refereeing, that has been going down for years and years and years!”
Murphy, though, defended the refs, claiming VAR appears to have made two of the game’s most experienced officials worse overnight – proof the technology is really to blame.
He added: “Mike Dean has been reffing for years! Lee Mason has been reffing for years!
“So if they become worse overnight, have they lost their common sense? No!
“Well… they have, to a certain degree, but it’s because of VAR, what it’s causing and the problems it’s creating.
“They’re all over the place and the amount of subjective decisions they’re getting wrong is ridiculous… but they’re not being led.”
Whose side are you on?