Following Soucek and Bednarek’s red cards, Mike Dean decided to take some time off refereeing.
Online abuse has become a serious problem not just in football, but in our entire society. Famous footballers and referees all around the world have been victims of racial abuse, xenophobia, and even death threats on social media. Some choose to delete or suspend their accounts, others take legal action, and some have even had to leave their homes.
This was the case of Michael Oliver, 35-year-old referee who is a regular presence in both Premier League and European fixtures. According to Mark Clattenburg, the English official had to move after fans became overly displeased with one of his performances.
“Referees are human. They make mistakes in the heat of the moment. I made plenty myself. But there is a line. Unfortunately with social media, that line is crossed all too often,” said Clattenburg.
“Michael Oliver had to move his family out of their home after the game in which Juventus were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid in 2018.”
Mike Dean became the latest target for online abuse.
Referees, managers, and players have called out for social media platforms to hold ‘trolls’ accountable for their actions. In fact, what some may see as normal behavior after a game is actually having serious consequences in people’s lives.
Recently, Mike Dean has been at the center of online abuse after sending off West Ham’s Soucek and Southampton’s Bednarek. The red cards were considered to be highly controversial and were even overturned by the FA.
According to Daily Mail, Dean was the victim of social media threats aimed at his wife and two daughters. Therefore, the referee decided to report the threats aimed at him and his family to the Merseyside Police. Moreover, the 52-year-old official reportedly asked to be relieved from his refereeing duties this weekend.
The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Masters, condemned the abuse towards the referee and has made a call for action.
“It is inexcusable that Mike Dean and his family have received online abuse, including death threats, as a result of doing his job officiating at a Premier League match,” Masters said.
“Mike and his family have our full support in reporting this to the police. This once again highlights the need for greater proactive intervention from social media companies to stop online abuse and identify offenders.”