Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Furious Llambias brands FA procedures 'not fit for purpose'
NEWCASTLE United managing director Derek Llambias has branded the Football Association's disciplinary procedures "not fit for purpose" after Wigan's Callum McManaman avoided punishment for his horror tackle on Massadio Haidara.
Haidara suffered significant damage to his knee after McManaman planted his foot into the defender's leg during Wigan's 2-1 win at the DW Stadium on Sunday.
Referee Mark Halsey failed to even award a free-kick against the Wigan attacker, but his post-match report to the FA is understood to have included an admission that he was unable to see the full effect of the incident because his line of sight was partially blocked by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
However, because assistant referee, Matthew Wilkes, had a clear view of McManaman's lunge, FA officials claim they are unable to take any retrospective action.
The governing body are reluctant to 're-referee' incidents, even if the original decision is subsequently proven to have been incorrect, a stance that has angered Llambias and the rest of the Newcastle hierarchy.
"It is clear from this decision that the current disciplinary procedures are not fit for purpose," said the Magpies chief. "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."
The FA released a statement justifying their stance, which was formulated to fit in with FIFA's directives about retrospective refereeing.
The governing body can, however, deem a challenge to be so dangerous and out-of-the-ordinary that it requires a special punishment, as was the case when Ben Thatcher received an eight-match ban for his elbow on Pedro Mendes in 2006.
The statement said: "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.
Midfielder Michael Carrick leads the way during England training yesterday
"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."
Llambias was also critical of Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, who caused consternation on Monday when he claimed McManaman's tackle had been "clean as a whistle".
Whelan has refused to backtrack on his comments, a stance that has further infuriated the Newcastle hierarchy.
"I have the greatest respect for Dave, who has been in the game for a long time as a professional footballer and now owner," said Llambias. "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.
"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."
The full extent of Haidara's injury remains unclear as an initial scan proved inconclusive because of the extent of the swelling around the full-back's knee.
Wigan owner Dave Whelan
Haidara will be monitored and assessed for the rest of the week before undergoing a second scan at the start of next week.
To further fuel Newcastle's sense of injustice, assistant manager John Carver was charged with misconduct yesterday afternoon.
Carver was sent to the stands after he was involved in an altercation with his Wigan counterpart, Graham Barrow, during the half-time interval of Sunday's defeat.
The Magpies number two remonstrated with McManaman on the field at the DW Stadium, and had to be pulled away by James Perch after Barrow took exception to his actions.
He has until Friday to respond to the charge, and is expected to request a personal hearing with FA officials.
More Newcastle Utd News