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Mike Dean, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, said on Thursday he made the wrong call when Spurs’ Cristian Romero pulled Marc Cucurella’s hair.

The foul was not given by on-field referee Anthony Taylor and Spurs profited as they scored a last-gasp equaliser to earn a point from a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel criticised Taylor and Dean and Cucurella said it was “very clear” Romero’s action was a red card offence.

Dean wrote in a column for The Mail+:

I could not award a free-kick as VAR, but I could recommend to Taylor that he visit the referee review area to consider a possible red card.

In the few seconds I had to study Romero pulling Cucurella’s hair, I didn’t deem it a violent act.

I’ve since studied the footage, spoken to other referees and, upon reflection, I should have asked Taylor to visit his pitch-side monitor to take a look for himself. The referee on field always has the final say.

It goes to show that no matter how experienced you are, and I’ve spent more than two decades as a Premier League official, you are always learning. It’s disappointing for me as this was one incident in an otherwise very good weekend from our officials. Decisions are debated – that’s the life of a referee.

There was also contention over Tottenham’s first equaliser, when Kai Havertz was fouled in the build-up and Richarlison appeared to be obstructing Edouard Mendy’s view from an offside position.

But Dean dismissed both of these claims, adding:

This one was relatively straightforward. I can’t go back 44 seconds to look at Rodrigo Bentancur’s potential foul on Kai Havertz.

It is outside the attacking phase of play – the Tottenham player got a toe to the ball anyway – so that wasn’t a factor in whether [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg’s goal should stand.

The question was whether Richarlison was interfering from an offside position. When Hojbjerg’s shot was struck, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had a view of the ball for me. His line of vision wasn’t clearly blocked, so it was onside.

By Amara

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