Tottenham's Cristian Romero pulled Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella's hair just before Spurs' late equaliser at Stamford Bridge; VAR Mike Dean admits he was wrong not to punish Romero; Dean: "I should've asked [referee] (Anthony) Taylor to visit his pitch-side monitor to take a look"
Friday 19 August 2022 10:07, UK
Video Assistant Referee Mike Dean says he should have recommended referee Anthony Taylor to review Cristian Romero's hair pull on Marc Cucurella for a possible red card in Tottenham's 2-2 draw at Chelsea.
Dean, who was the VAR for the controversial game at Stamford Bridge, decided against any punishment for Romero at the time.
Spurs striker Harry Kane nodded in from the resulting corner for a stoppage-time leveller to deny Chelsea victory and spark ugly touchline clashes between the rival benches.
In his Daily Mail column, Dean admitted: "No referee wants to be driving home from a game knowing they should have made a different call. Sometimes in hindsight, you realise you could have acted differently.
"For the second goal by Harry Kane, I asked referee Anthony Taylor to wait while I looked at the incident involving Tottenham's Cristian Romero and Chelsea's Marc Cucurella.
"I could not award a free-kick as VAR, but I could recommend to Taylor that he visit the referee review area to consider a possible red card. In the few seconds I had to study Romero pulling Cucurella's hair, I didn't deem it a violent act.
"I've since studied the footage, spoken to other referees and, upon reflection, I should have asked Taylor to visit his pitch-side monitor to take a look for himself. The referee on field always has the final say.
"It goes to show that no matter how experienced you are, and I've spent more than two decades as a Premier League official, you are always learning.
"It's disappointing for me as this was one incident in an otherwise very good weekend from our officials."
While Dean claims he had a "few seconds" to review Romero's clash with Cucurella, replays show one minute and 10 seconds passed between the incident taking place and Taylor being told to continue with the match. Dean could have taken even more time to review the incident if he had wished as the game was paused ahead of a Spurs corner.
Tottenham's first equaliser was also controversial with Chelsea claiming Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's goal should have been disallowed for offside with Richarlison in goalkeeper Edouard Mendy's line of sight.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel was also enraged that a foul was not given for a tackle by Rodrigo Bentancur on Kai Havertz in the build-up to the equaliser.
But Dean believes he was correct to allow the Danish midfielder's goal to stand.
He said: "With the first equaliser for Tottenham by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. This one was relatively straightforward. I can't go back 44 seconds to look at Rodrigo Bentancur's potential foul on Kai Havertz. It is outside the attacking phase of play - the Tottenham player got a toe to the ball anyway - so that wasn't a factor in whether Hojbjerg's goal should stand.
"The question was whether Richarlison was interfering from an offside position. When Hojbjerg's shot was struck, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had a view of the ball for me. His line of vision wasn't clearly blocked, so it was onside and 1-1."
Dean will not be in charge of VAR for the next round of Premier League fixtures after being given the weekend off following the controversial events at Chelsea.
The 54-year-old retired from on-field refereeing at the end of last season but has remained involved with the Premier League as a VAR.
Chelsea defender Cucurella says Romero's hair pull on him was "clear" as day - and branded the decision not to punish the Tottenham defender as a "referee and VAR error".
"For me it is too clear in the game, on the pitch," Cucurella told a press conference when asked about the incident. "I didn't see it on the TV, the video. I think it's very clear, but this is one error of the referee or VAR.
"Sometimes the referees have good decisions, sometimes not. This is not my problem. Maybe we need to work harder to not concede this goal in the last minute.
"I saw [VAR] checking for a red card in the stadium. For me it is clear. In this moment, I don't know what happened."
Cucurella also joked that his hair is fine and he will never consider changing his style - and added there were no hard feelings towards Tottenham defender Romero.
"I have no problem with him," the Spaniard added. "It's just one action of the game but maybe it was important because it changed the final result.
"For me it's no problem. Before the game I spoke with him [Romero]. I have no problem. It's only one action in the game. Maybe an important action because it changes the final result. We have another opportunity [to beat Spurs]."
Romero will not face retrospective action for the incident late in the game on Sunday - as pulling a player's hair is not considered an offence in football's laws.
Retrospective action can only be given when both the match and video officials fail to spot an incident on the pitch in real time and do not mention it in their post-match report.
Had referee Taylor spotted the incident in real time, then the correct course of action would have been a free-kick to Chelsea, leaving Spurs unable to score from that specific attack.
Unlike rugby, football laws do not specifically mention hair-pulling. The officials must decide whether the extent of the hair pulling is forceful enough to be considered violent conduct.
If it is not, then it would probably be considered unsporting behaviour and result in a yellow card.
Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has said he and Chelsea counterpart Thomas Tuchel "must accept" any punishment doled out by the Football Association following their fiery clash - but the Italian is expecting to avoid a touchline ban.
Conte remains hopeful that he will be in the dugout for Tottenham's visit of Wolves on Saturday despite being sent off at the end of a fiery London derby against his former club last weekend.
He and Tuchel argued as Conte celebrated Tottenham's first equaliser in the 2-2 draw, then clashed again at full-time.
The two managers were hit with an FA charge on Monday and have until Thursday evening to either accept or appeal.
Conte seemed to hint he would accept the charge when asked about it earlier on Thursday: "I see that the FA made us, both coaches, a more soft charge, no? And we have to accept.
"We have to accept and have respect for every decision. But I think sometimes this type of situation can happen. It's not the first time, it won't be the last time that two coaches are not in the right way or do not agree.
"But the most important thing is we have to move on, to have respect for each other. And for me, the situation finishes there."
Unlike when a player is sent off, Conte and Tuchel will not necessarily receive a ban - even if they accept their respective charges.
When asked if was expecting to be on the touchline against Wolves, Conte replied that he was confident he will escape a ban: "I hope so. I think that it's right.
"It's right to stay in my place. Then I repeat for sure after this type of situation you can learn a lot but at the same time I think that for many situations I was really good to keep calm and don't have an excessive reaction in the situation."