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West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek is dismayed by the online abuse hurled at Mike Dean after the referee controversially sent him off against Fulham over the weekend.
Soucek never intended the issue to become personal and regrets that some Hammers supporters have apparently made it that way.
Soucek took to Twitter on Mondayupon learning of the abuse Dean has received.
"Whatever decisions are made on the pitch should stay on the pitch," Soucek wrote."I don’t like hearing about it interfering with personal life and I send Mike Dean and his family my support. There is no place for abuse of any kind. It is in the past and I’m now focused on the rest of the season."
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters similarly defended Dean.
"It is inexcusable that Mike Dean and his family have received online abuse, including death threats, as a result of doing his job officiating at a Premier League match," Masters said in a statement. "It is completely unacceptable that we are seeing abusive behaviour aimed at players, managers and match officials regularly on social media platforms.
"Mike and his family have our full support in reporting this to the police. This once again highlights the need for greater proactive intervention from social media companies to stop online abuse and identify offenders."
Authorities areinvestigating the matter, according to Sky Sports.