Premier League's referees boss Mike Riley has revealed that Mike Dean messaged fellow referees to admit to his mistake where he gave West Bromwich Albion a penalty in the final minutes of the game against Arsenal which cost the Gunners two points.
Manager Arsene Wenger was incensed by the decision and spoke out vehemently against the officials, making his way to the referees changing room to showcase his anger. His conduct was deemed inappropriate by the FA and the Frenchman was handed a three game touchline ban, the first of which he served in their shock 4-2 loss to Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup.
Riley added that the decision would have been overturned if the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was in place and the same will be used for the first time in this country tonight in the FA Cup third-round clash between Brighton and Crystal Palace. The same will also be in place for the semi-final clash of the Carabao Cup between Arsenal and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Riley, meanwhile, insisted that the decision to award a penalty for the handball came from Dean's misinterpretation of the incident, where he thought that Calum Chambers brought his hand towards the ball rather than what actually happened. The reversal would also have spared Wenger his outrage and saved him from the ban he is currently subjected to.
"You award the penalty because what you have seen on the pitch is the arm coming towards the ball," said Riley, as quoted by the Express. "What is handball can look to you on the field of play if you get one look at it. But immediately there is evidence from another camera angle which shows actually the opposite happened. That is the safety net of the VAR.
"I think Chambers would have been over-turned. The question you ask is, is it an act of deliberate handball? And the reverse angle shows him trying to bring his arm out of the way of the ball, rather than the reverse.
"I know Mike would have over-turned it. He messages people, and he's a very honest guy, and he goes, 'I got it wrong'. He knows he did."