Mike Dean, a Premier League referee, will retire at the end of the 2021/22 season but is expected to work as a full-time VAR official after that.
Dean has been a Premier League referee since 2000, and has officiated 553 matches in total, issuing 114 red cards – more than any other official.
The 53-year-old is known for his showman-like manner and no-nonsense approach with players, and has presided over some of the division’s most important games.
Since his debut in the Premier League in 2000, Dean has been in charge of 554 games, handing out more yellow and red cards than any other referee in the league’s history.
Mike Dean, though, appears to be calling it a day after 22 years, with the Telegraph suggesting that the referee will retire at the end of the season.
Players are unlikely to get away with it if they believe they can escape becoming his 114th red card victim in the league, even if that means there won’t be any more until May.
The official is in talks with the Professional Game Match Officials, the officials’ governing body, to become a full-time VAR official, according to the article.
He’d only be the fifth man in the Stockley Park officiating crew, but he’d still be able to hand out some red cards inadvertently.
After hanging up his yellow cards at the end of last season, only Lee Mason is currently engaged as a video assistant referee.
PGMOL is understood to be in negotiations with referees about the possibility of officials becoming full-time VARs at the conclusion of their careers, as well as the associated remuneration.
Last year, Dean was poised to join Mason in finishing his on-pitch career at the end of the 2020/21 season, but he changed his mind, according to The Athletic.
That article claimed it had something to do with the return of fans to the game, which would fit with his attitude, but the Telegraph said he was persuaded to keep experience in his squad of officials by head of referees Mike Riley.
When Dean sent Ashley Young out in Manchester United’s game against Wolves nearly three years ago, he became the first referee in Premier League history to issue 100 red cards.
His flair for the dramatic, charisma, and ability to not give a damn what the other players have to say have made him a fan favorite.
While some despise him and fear that he may referee their team’s games, he has also grown into a popular figure among supporters.
If the 53-year-old retires from officiating, he will be able to attend more Tranmere Rovers games, where he can be seen excitedly celebrating their victories.