The decision that was made by the FA not to charge Wigan’s Callum McManaman was met with derision in Newcastle. The tackle on Massadio Haidara, which was deserving of a lengthy punishment, may well have left the player seriously injured. 

Referee, Mark Halsey, caused uproar after refusing to punish McManaman for what many deemed to be an act of serious foul play. The tackle went completely unpunished as not even a free-kick was awarded.

Any player who lunges at an opponent when challenging for the ball from the front, side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of the opponent, is guilty of serious foul play. 

If a player has to be stretchered off and then taken to a nearby hospital because of a tackle and it is not considered serious then something must be a miss.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, the director of governance for the FA Darren Bailey explained the reason for refusing to take the matter further. 

He said; "In circumstances where one of the match officials has witnessed the coming together, then there's no need to go on and consider the next question, which is whether the player would have been ordered off for the particular offence, or actually precluded.

"One of the principal reasons we have not-seen incidents is to deal with off the ball incidents as opposed to contests for possession or tackle scenarios.

"If we allow incidents to be reopened on a regular basis then the game will not have any participation certainty and on Monday we will be confronted with a whole range of tackles from the top of the game all the way down the pyramid."

Let’s look at that phrase: the “coming together” of players; a totally misrepresentation of the entire incident. From what is plain to see the “coming together” here is McManaman’s boot to Haidara’s planted leg. The FA may, for future reference, rethink their wording of such statements.  

The statement that followed the game, the next morning from Dave Whelan was a less than welcome addition to the entire debacle. Mr Whelan was happy to tell Sky Sports that the tackle “was a fair challenge.”

Whether Mr Whelan is still bitter as to how his career was ended – with a broken leg at Wembley; or whether he is just mad but there is no way to see it as “fair.” 

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez defended his player like any manager would, speaking to the BBC in the post-match interview that McManaman  “isn’t that type of player.” Apparently whenever an incident like this occurs; the player involved never seems to be ‘that type of player.’

To make matters even more interesting the FA have decided to charge Newcastle assistant manager John Carver and Wigan coach Graham Barrow after an incident at half time when Carver confronted McManaman about the horror challenge. Both men were subsequently sent to the stands. Whilst it is correct that they have been reprimanded for their behaviour, it remains highly peculiar that McManaman escaped a charge.  

Newcastle seem to have every right to be incensed by this decision and must now wait on the diagnosis of the extent of damage done to Massadio Haidara. With everybody wishing him the best, one will hope now that the injury isn’t of a serious nature and that we shall be seeing Haidara in the black and white of the Magpies sooner rather than later.

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