Former Premier League referee Mike Dean failed to correct a mistake in a match to save his friend and fellow official Anthony Taylor from extra “grief”.
Just before a late Harry Kane equaliser Chelsea felt they should have had a penalty after Cristian Romero pulled Marc Cucurella’s hair.
Dean acknowledged a “really bad call” not sending Taylor to review it.
“I missed the stupid hair pull at Chelsea versus Tottenham which was pathetic from my point of view,” Dean told Simon Jordan’s Up Front podcast.
“It’s one of them where if I had my time again, what would I do? I’d send Anthony [Taylor] to the screen. I think I knew if I did send him to the screen…he’s cautioned both managers, he’s had a hell of a game, it’s been such a tough game end to end.
“I said to Anthony afterwards: ‘I just didn’t want to send you to the screen after what has gone on in the game’.
“I didn’t want to send him up because he is a mate as well as a referee and I think I didn’t want to send him up because I didn’t want any more grief than he already had.”
Dean became a dedicated Premier League VAR last season after hanging up his whistle at the end of the 2021-22 campaign after referring over 550 matches in the top flight.
He was stood down from VAR duty for two months after the Stamford Bridge incident.
Wirral-born Dean subsequently brought an end to his 28-year career as a professional official because being in the VAR hot seat was something he ended up “dreading”.
Dean added: “That was a major error. If they don’t score from the corner it is not as big an issue.
“But I knew full well then I would be stood down the week after. I asked to take a bit of time off because it wasn’t for me.
“I used to get in the car on a Friday and was dreading Saturday. I was thinking, ‘I hope nothing happens’. I used to be petrified sitting in the chair.”