Premier League referee Mike Dean has alerted police after his family received death threats following two controversial red cards he issued over the past week.
Dean was criticised for sending off Southampton defender Jan Bednarek against Manchester United last Tuesday and West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek in Saturday’s match at Fulham.
Both decisions have now been overturned on appeal.
Reports said Dean had asked to be excused from duty next weekend although it is understood he will referee Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round match between Leicester and Brighton.
Mike Riley, managing director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), supported Dean’s decision to notify the police.
“Threats and abuse of this nature are totally unacceptable and we fully support Mike’s decision to report these messages his family received to the police,” he said.
“Nobody should be victim of abhorrent messages like this. Online abuse is unacceptable in any walk of life and more needs to be done to tackle the problem.”
Bednarek was sent off for a challenge on Anthony Martial in Manchester United’s 9-0 win over Saints, with Dean sticking with his initial decision after being invited to check the pitchside monitor at Old Trafford.
Dean sent off Czech midfielder Soucek for catching Aleksandar Mitrovic with his elbow by accident in Saturday’s goalless draw.