'Not fit for purpose': Newcastle slam FA disciplinary procedures after Callum McManaman escapes punishment

Wigan striker's studs-up challenge on Massadio Haidara will not lead to retrospective action

Newcastle have issued a statement slamming the FA's failure to dish out retrospective punishment to Callum McManaman following the Wigan striker's 'horror-tackle' on Massadio Haidara.

During Wigan's 2-1 victory at the weekend, McManaman tackled Haidara in a challenge widely viewed as dangerous. The studs-up challenge forced Newcastle defender Haidara to be stretchered from the pitch.

Mark Halsey failed to punish McManaman during the match - and did not even give a free-kick for the incident.

It was understood that Halsey was unsighted, yet the FA have explained that because the incident was seen by at least one official, retrospective action cannot be taken.

The FA said in a statement: "The FA can confirm that no action can be taken against Wigan's Callum McManaman retrospectively following his side's game against Newcastle United on Sunday 17 March 2013.

"Following consultation with the game's stakeholders (the Premier League, the Football League, the Professional Footballers' Association, the League Managers' Association, Professional Game Match Officials Limited and the National Game) in the summer, it was agreed that retrospective action should only be taken in respect of incidents which have not been seen by the match officials.

"Where one of the officials has seen a coming together of players, no retrospective action should be taken, regardless of whether he or she witnessed the full or particular nature of the challenge. This is to avoid the re-refereeing of incidents.

"In the case of Callum 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."

Newcastle are furious with the decision and have suggested the club will make moves to change the disciplinary process.

Managing director Derek Llambias also questioned Wigan chairman Dave Whelan's claim that the challenge was "fair".

He said in a statement: "There has been significant public reaction from media, industry figures and supporters to the tackle made by Wigan Athletic's Callum McManaman on Massadio Haidara during the first half of our Premier League fixture on Sunday, 17th March, in particular comments made by Wigan's owner Dave Whelan.

"I have the greatest respect for Dave, who has been in the game for a long time as a professional footballer and now owner. I am also aware that Dave's career was cut short due to injury.

"I am therefore disappointed and surprised by the comments he made yesterday, in particular his assertion that the tackle by Callum McManaman 'was a fair challenge'.

"It is our strongly held opinion that the tackle on Massadio was extremely dangerous and is the type of challenge that has the potential to cause serious harm and such was the force, and reckless and dangerous nature of the challenge, even end a player's career.

"It was not a fair challenge. This view is shared by countless former players, referees and well-respected media commentators. Indeed it appears to be only Dave Whelan who takes a contrary view.

"We are disappointed to learn that the FA is not going to charge the Wigan player. We were first notified of this decision by a national media outlet who received notification from the FA confirming the decision. This was prior to anyone from the FA having the courtesy to contact the Club to let us know.

"It is clear from this decision that the current disciplinary procedures are not fit for purpose. 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.

"Our attentions at this time are firmly with Massadio. He only joined us in January, but in that short time he has impressed us immensely both on and off the field. Massadio was scanned yesterday and will continue to be assessed for the remainder of the week.

"He will undergo a further scan next week in order to determine the extent of the damage caused. Contrary to comments in the media, there is currently no timescale for his recovery.

"We would like to thank our fans for their heart-felt messages of support for Massadio. We are passing these messages on to him and we are sure they will help keep his spirits up."

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