Mike Dean has admitted to a major error while working as a VAR

FORMER Premier League VAR Mike Dean has admitted he did not send Anthony Taylor to the monitor when Cristian Romero pulled Marc Cucurella’s hair because the official is his “mate”.

Dean, 55, retired from all forms of officiating at the end of last season.

Mike Dean has admitted to a major error while working as a VARCredit: Getty

But at the start of his final campaign, he was involved in a controversial decision while working as the VAR for Spurs’ trip to Chelsea.

Tottenham salvaged a 2-2 draw thanks to a dramatic stoppage-time header from Harry Kane.

Moments before the equaliser, Spurs defender Romero pulled the hair of Chelsea’s Cucurella and should have been sent off.

However, ref Taylor did not spot an infringement and failed to even book the Argentine.

Dean came in for criticism because he did not urge Taylor to have a look at the incident on the pitchside monitor.

Now he has revealed why he made that call.

Speaking on Up Front with Simon Jordan, he said: “I missed the stupid hair pull at Chelsea versus Tottenham which was pathetic from my point of view.

“It’s one of them where if I had my time again, what would I do? I’d send Anthony [Taylor] to the screen.

“I think I knew if I did send him to the screen… he’s cautioned both managers, he’s had a hell of a game, it’s been such a tough game end to end.

“I said to Anthony afterwards: ‘I just didn’t want to send you to the screen after what has gone on in the game’.

“I didn’t want to send him up because he is a mate as well as a referee and I think I didn’t want to send him up because I didn’t want any more grief than he already had.

“Anthony, he is big and bald and ugly enough to know if he is going to the screen he is going to the screen for a reason. If someone pulls their hair now it’s dead easy. It’s just a brainwave by me, a really bad call by me, and it kind of affected me as VAR going forward.”

Dean was a Premier League referee for 22 years, before he spent one season in the VAR room.

From the start of the 2023/24 campaign, he has been Sky Sports’ referee analyst on Soccer Saturday.