The former Premier League official has given a remarkably honest account of his time working with the controversial video review system, which was introduced in 2019, including refusing to send referee Anthony Taylor to check a potential foul in a bad-tempered game between Chelsea and Tottenham because “he’s a mate”.
A similarly surprising decision, this time made by Dean as the on-pitch official under instruction from VAR, has also been confessed by the 55-year-old.
In 2021, Dean oversaw Southampton’s 9-0 hammering at the hands of United which saw him send off Jan Bednarek for a foul on Anthony Martial in the penalty box.
“I’ve probably been over to the screen five or six times and for at least two of them, I could have stuck with my initial decision,” he told William Hill’s Up Front podcast.
“Straight away, Manchester United versus Southampton comes to mind as I went to the screen for something and I sent a player off, which was completely wrong.
“But because you have gone to the screen, nine times out of 10 you are expected to change your decision. When I was there, 99 times out of 100 you would change your decision.”
The Football Association overturned Bednarek’s sending off on appeal, after Bruno Fernandes had scored the penalty for goal number eight of the rout.
"Martial said it's not a foul!"
Jan Bednarek was not happy with the decision that saw him sent off 👀 pic.twitter.com/GxhGv8ncu1
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) February 2, 2021
Dean expects the VAR culture among referees to continue to change with the overwhelming likelihood of officials overturning calls at the pitchside monitor set to, in his opinion, decline.
“I think that will change,” he continued. “Because if you made a decision on the pitch and you made the correct call, when you’re walking over to the screen, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Why am I being sent here? I know what I have seen’.
“The more you stick with your on-field decision, the more credibility you get from spectators, managers, and players. Also, it may stop VAR from sending a referee over to the screen every single time something happens. Have they got to go over every time? In my opinion, they haven’t.”