England's second tier of football has presented an interesting example of controversial refereeing. Premier League referee Mike Dean's rather controversial actions (video in link) in the Birmingham Derby have earned him praise from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) referees' association, according to Sky Sports News.
As Birmingham played Aston Villa in a tense derby at St. Andrew's Stadium in the Championship, the deadlock was broken by Villa's Gary Gardener, who along with most of his teammates, including the goalkeeper, were celebrating close to their fans in their own half. The opportunistic Birmingham players decided to try a quick kick-off so that they could score against a still celebrating Villa side. Seeing how the Villa players could potentially concede a goal while they still had their backs turned, Mike Dean urged Mile Jedinak to stay in Birmingham's half, so that they cannot legally kick-off and score.
While Dean's advice to Jedinak was not looked upon kindly by Birmingham's supporters, the PGMOL referees' association spokesperson told Sky Sports News, "Mike's actions were appropriate for the situation as it unfolded." Later in the game, Birmingham's Lukas Jutkiewicz similarly walked deep into Aston Villa's half and tied his shoelaces in order to prevent Villa from disrupting his teammates celebrations after they equalised.
Dean is no stranger to courting controversy though, as he received flak from Aston Villa and Arsenal supporters in 2015 for seemingly celebrating Tottenham's goals against them. Dean is evidently an expressive presence on the pitch, as he even bemoaned Swansea's inability to capitalize on the advantage he played for them against Manchester United during their Premier League clash.
A video compiling the aforementioned three incidents can be found below:
With inputs from agencies