I’m sure you’ve seen the Callum McManaman ’tackle’ by now on Massadio Haïdara, if you haven’t click here to see what took place between Wigan vs. Newcastle.
Having gone unpunished during the match, most expected at least three matches for the young winger; the same punishment as a straight red card.
However, The FA has taken no retrospective action. Their reasoning, is that the linesman apparently saw the incident. Despite referee Mark Halsey having stated that he did not see it.
“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.” - Read an FA statement.
They stand by the FIFA Laws of the Game. Law 5 states, “The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final.”
The FA’s own retrospective ruling is there solely for incidents that have gone unseen by any of the match officials, so is usually seen implemented for off-the-ball incidents.
So putting that into the context of the McMannaman and Haïdara incident, the linesman Matthew Wilkes and referee Mark Halsey are the ones to point the finger at, more so than The FA.
Halsey did not see the incident, which is pretty poor, but it means another official’s view would be taken into account. The linesman saw the incident and thus must believe that McMannaman didn’t do anything worthy of a red card, as that was his decision.
I know for sure vast numbers of people will now say that The FA are a joke for not using common sense and going against the linesman. But it is not The FA’s action today which is the problem, it is the retrospective rule itself.
If The FA were to go against their protocol they would open numerous incidents for debate in the future and past, with fans and teams asking why their incidents didn’t go against the rule as this one may have. So it is understandable as to why The FA haven’t taken further action because that is how their rules work.
So, is the rule itself that is the mess of the situation, or the joke? The FA will surely look at this come the end of the season when they review their rule book and consider a restructuring of the retrospective ban rule.