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'Hope he DIES': Premier League ref refuses to officiate after death threats over VAR red card debacle

'Hope he DIES': Premier League ref refuses to officiate after death threats over VAR red card debacle
Premier League referee Mike Dean has refused to officiate in upcoming games because of death threats aimed at him and his family after he inexplicably sent off West Ham player Tomáš Souček for violent conduct.

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Dean gave Czech Republic international midfielder Souček his marching orders in the 97th minute of their game at Fulham on Saturday for an elbow on Aleksandr Mitrovic while awaiting the delivery of a free kick.

'Hope he DIES': Premier League ref refuses to officiate after death threats over VAR red card debacle

The decision came after a painstakingly thorough check on VAR, that was despite observers watching the replays unanimously believing the elbow to be clearly accidental, Souček simply catching Mitrovic while raising his arm in the air.

The red card has since been rescinded by the Premier League after a review, and despite the incident not changing the course of action in the game, which finished 0-0, Dean has been the target of vile abuse from West Ham fans.

Some went as far as to wish death from AIDS upon Dean, and nonchalantly posted mock-up gifs dancing on his grave, facing forced the veteran ref to pull out of officiating this weekend's Premier League fixtures due to the abuse.

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Dean was also the target of abuse when he sent off Southampton's Jan Bednarek in a previous game against Manchester United, which was also overturned on appeal, and it seems the backlash has become too much for the 52-year-old, who has alerted the police to the death threats.

It is understood that Serbian forward Mitrovic, despite being blamed for playacting in the incident, played an important part int he red card appeal.

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