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Mike Dean admits mistake on West Brom penalty call

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A non-apology that does nothing.

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Premier League
For some reason, Mike Dean is still refereeing Premier League matches.
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Have you ever gotten a response from customer service that said “We’re sorry for your inconvenience” and that was it? It doesn’t really do anything for you. It doesn’t fix the problem, it doesn’t compensate you for your loss, and it doesn’t make you feel much better. It’s basically the company acknowledging that you got screwed. Most likely nothing is going to change - the company is going to keep doing the same thing it’s been doing for years.

That’s more or less what Mike Dean did for Arsenal in admitting he’d made a mistake on the penalty call in the West Brom match.

It doesn’t change the result of the match. It doesn’t reverse Arsene Wenger’s 3-match touchline ban for his (justified) reaction to the call. It doesn’t give back the critical two points that were taken from the Gunners. And it doesn’t really make me feel any better about it.

In fact, the admission makes a part of me even more upset. The consequences of Dean’s mistake fall squarely on Arsenal and he gets off scot-free. Those two points could be the difference between the Champions League and the Europa League - tens of millions of pounds for Arsenal. But it doesn’t cost Mike Dean anything. No pay cut, no remedial refereeing classes, no demotion to the Championship, not even a slap on the wrist. Nothing to suggest his repeated negative effect on Arsenal won’t continue. Nothing to make me think his mistakes won’t happen again. And again. And again.

He didn’t even apologize for the mistake. He just admitted to other referees that he made one. When I screw up, one of the first things out of my mouth is “I’m sorry.” When I make a mistake, I feel bad about it, I try to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I wonder if it’s the same for Mike Dean.

Oh, and the admission didn’t even come directly from Dean. It came from referees’ chief Mike Riley who told the press that Dean admitted the mistake to him.

Now, there are probably rules about referees speaking to the media that prevent Dean from owning up to his mistake in person. Regardless, it’s disappointing that he can hide behind the referee chief and doesn’t have to face the music himself.

Sorry for the inconvenience Arsenal fans.