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Referee Dean to return to Premier League action despite death threats

London (AFP) – Premier League referee Mike Dean will take charge of Burnley’s game with West Brom on Saturday after excusing himself from last weekend’s action following death threats made against him.

The 52-year-old and his family received the threats last week on social media after he was involved in two controversial red card incidents.

Both were subsequently rescinded on appeal.

Dean asked to be stood down from last weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures, although he did go ahead and referee the FA Cup fifth-round tie between Leicester and Brighton last Wednesday.

He received widespread support not only from Professional Game Match Officials Limited but also the Premier League.

Richard Masters, chief executive of the Premier League, said the threats were “inexcusable” and called for “greater proactive intervention” from social media companies.

Premier League managers too rallied round him with Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho saying “something has to be done” about the online abuse of the referee.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder termed such acts as “cowardly, disgusting and inhumane” and called Dean “an honourable referee and a decent guy”.

West Ham’s Tomas Soucek, one of the players Dean sent off, also took to Twitter to offer his support.

“Whatever decisions are made on the pitch should stay on the pitch,” tweeted the Czech midfielder.

“I don’t like hearing about it interfering with personal life and I send Mike Dean and his family my support. There is no place for abuse of any kind.”

Dean sent off Soucek for catching Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic with his elbow, days after dismissing Southampton defender Jan Bednarek at Old Trafford.

Dean reviewed the incidents on the pitchside monitor after consulting VAR before making his decisions.

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