The PGMOL could have prevented this situation. To have the same refereeing team officiate the same club twice in four days was asking for trouble.
It meant that if anything controversial cropped up in Southampton‘s game against Aston Villa — which it did — Mike Dean and Lee Mason would be taking charge of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side again when emotions were still raw.
Southampton aren’t happy. They feel they were on the wrong end of decisions by Dean and Mason all over again in their 9-0 loss to Manchester United.
Mike Dean (left) controversially sent off Jan Bednarek in Southampton’s 9-0 defeat by United
Southampton felt they were on the wrong end of decisions at Old Trafford on Tuesday
This got me thinking back to 2013 when, after a 2-1 defeat by Everton, Southampton asked the PGMOL not to put me on their matches. I’d done nothing wrong, however.
The PGMOL backed me, the club’s complaint was dismissed and I was back to refereeing their games less than two months later. Hasenhuttl and Saints have stopped short of making a formal request to stop Dean and Mason officiating their games for now.
Nevertheless, PGMOL chief Mike Riley has two options: he can continue to let Dean and Mason take charge of Saints matches, or he can let the situation die down by keeping them away for a while.
Lee Mason also denied the Saints a penalty and a Danny Ings equaliser at the weekend
Ings was denied a stoppage-time equaliser against Villa because his ‘sleeve’ was offside
I expect Riley will opt for the latter. He will want to avoid conflict and sidelining Dean and Mason for Southampton games will make life much easier.
It isn’t that rare for a referee to avoid a club. Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was fined £25,000 for comments he made about Mason after a 2-1 loss at Burnley in December. Mason hasn’t refereed them since, though he did act as VAR a month later.
Riley is bound to let the dust settle but this won’t be the last time we see Dean or Mason officiate Saints. Nor should it be.
Bednarek was adjudged to have brought down Anthony Martial inside the penalty area