In the wake of the FA's announcement that Callum McManaman will receive no disciplinary action over his dangerous challenge on Massadio Haidara last Sunday, we take a closer look at the tackle itself.
In a statement issued by the FA, it was said that: "no action can be taken against Wigan's Callum McManaman retrospectively" as "retrospective action should only be taken in respect of incidents which have not been seen by the match officials". While there is no doubt that referee Mark Halsey's view of the incident was blocked, his assistant Matthew Wilkes had a clear view of the challenge and deemed it neither illegal nor dangerous enough for play to be stopped immediately. The FA's rule regarding incidents seen by referees at the time of the occurrence was proposed in order to: "avoid the re-refereeing of incidents."
By this, the FA are clearly stating that, although the challenge was reckless and can easily be deemed dangerous play, they are in no position to take action as it was seen by the assistant referee.
Newcastle are understandably furious with the decision, claiming that the current disciplinary procedures are "not fit for purpose". While the FA's approach to the situation is reasonable, as they are unable to simply disregard their own rules regarding retrospective action, the anger of Newcastle's representatives is also justified.
Regarding the tackle, it could be argued that McManaman catches the ball first, however the challenge is unnecessarily forceful and high.
If McManaman was going for the ball and only the ball, he would have used the inside of his foot and stayed on his feet. Instead, he leaped powerfully and forcefully into Haidara at knee height with his studs showing, and as such has left Haidara injured.
While it would not have changed the fate of Haidara, a fair punishment for McManaman and for Wigan would do football the world of good. The situation, while created by the player, was exacerbated by the inability of the authorities to issue just action.
For this, neither the referee nor the FA can be blamed; if there truly is someone to point the finger at, it is the assistant Matthew Wilkes. Not even the aid of a clear, unobstructed view could allow him to see the challenge as it was reckless, dangerous and illegal.
As such, no action can be issued by the FA, and the challenge goes unpunished.
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