Thousands of Premier League fans have signed a petition calling for Mike Dean to be sacked following his controversial decision to send off Tomas Soucek in West Ham’s stalemate away at Fulham.
David Moyes’ men looked set to play out an uneventful 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage before Dean, who has made a number of contentious calls in the past, showed Soucek a red card for an alleged elbow on Aleksandar Mitrovic.
As the Hammers lined up a late free-kick, their towering Czech midfielder appeared to brush the face of Mitrovic with his elbow, sending the Fulham striker tumbling to the floor.
Dean was then advised by VAR official Lee Mason to review the incident on his pitch-side monitor, as the latter reportedly claimed to have spotted a “clenched fist”.
Yet despite the elbow not appearing intentional or an example of violent conduct, to everyone’s surprise the on-field referee returned from his monitor check to show Soucek a straight red card.
Even Mitrovic, who quickly returned to his feet, pleaded with Dean not to send off the Hammers man.
The decision, which has since been appealed by West Ham, sparked outrage on social media, with Match of the Day host Gary Lineker writing: “Can’t find a soul on here that thinks that’s a red card. How can both Lee Mason and Mike Dean both see it as a red? Tomas Soucek must get that overturned.”
Soucek’s red card is likely to be overturned, but fans remain desperate to see Dean punished for yet another baffling decision.
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The controversial referee also made an incorrect call in Manchester United’s 9-0 win over Southampton last week, with his harsh decision to send off Jan Bednarek later being overturned.
And the Soucek sending off was the final nail in the coffin for a number of fans who have signed a petition calling for Dean to be banned from officiating.
An explanation of the petition, which has been created on Change.org, reads: “The guy clearly doesn't understand the game anymore. Soucek red card was embarrassing, as was his performance against Southampton.
“It's always all about him, will ruin the game if he's allowed to keep reffing.”
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