Furious Newcastle brand FA rules unfit for purpose

Frank Dalleres
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NEWCASTLE have branded the Football Association’s disciplinary procedure “not fit for purpose” after Wigan’s Callum McManaman escaped punishment for his horror tackle on Magpies defender Massadio Haidara.

The FA ruled yesterday that McManaman would not face retrospective action for the challenge in Sunday’s Premier League match because at least one of the officials confirmed that they had seen the incident.

Although they conceded that the official in question had not seen “the full extent of the challenge”, the FA emphasised that the fact that it had been seen at all meant that a review was not an option.

“It is clear from this decision that the current disciplinary procedures are not fit for purpose,” Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias said in a club statement.

“Newcastle United, along with other clubs, have had players suspended for incidents reviewed after the game. Whilst not trivialising these incidents, they were not, in our opinion, of the seriousness of Callum McManaman’s tackle on Haidara.

“Whilst we understand that the current procedures give the FA limited options, it cannot be correct that the most serious offences – those which have the potential to cause another player serious harm – can go unpunished, even if the original incident was seen by match officials.

“We will now be making a strong representation to the FA and the Premier League to see how a more appropriate, fair and even-handed disciplinary process can be introduced at the earliest opportunity to prevent incidents of this nature going unpunished in the future.”

Referee Mark Halsey did not even give a foul for 21-year-old midfielder McManaman’s studs-up tackle on Haidara, which caught the Newcastle player on the knee.

The French full-back, 20, who was making only his fifth appearance since joining Newcastle in January, was carried off on a stretcher and the north-east club say they are still assessing the severity of his injury.

The FA said they decided at a summer meeting with the Premier League and referees’ chiefs that retrospective action should be strictly reserved for incidents that were not seen by officials.

“This is to avoid the re-refereeing of incidents,” the FA added in a statement. “In the case of McManaman, it has been confirmed that at least one of the match officials saw the coming together, though not the full extent of the challenge. In these circumstances retrospective action cannot be taken.

“The principal objective behind the not seen policy is to address off the ball incidents where match officials are unlikely to be in a position to witness misconduct.”