Referees at all levels are being urged to follow the example of Mike Dean after his midweek penalty award for grappling pointed the way to eradicating a footballing eyesore.
Having campaigned to see officials act to stamp out holding and pulling, You Are The Ref experts were delighted to see Dean take a lead role during Newcastle’s 3-3 draw with Manchester United.
In one of several tight penalty calls, Dean pointed to the spot to punish United’s Chris Smalling for grabbing on to Newcastle’s Aleksandar Mitrovic as the ball was delivered from a corner kick.
“Well done, Mike,” said YATR’s Andy Martin on Ref Cam. “More decisions like this would soon reduce grappling and help drive it from the game.”
Keith Hackett commented: “I hope this is evidence of a call from the top. Individual referees can feel exposed in making strong decisions of this nature if other referees are not following suit.
“PGMOL need to be taking a firm line so that all officials are in no doubt as to the action they should take.”
Dean was given two out of three on Ref Cam on the biggest decisions at St. James’ Park.
Martin supported his award of an early penalty to United for a blocking arm hand ball offence but felt he should have given Newcastle a spot-kick for a foul by Jesse Lingard on Daryl Janmaat.