Although I rarely post about it on here (I rarely post on here at all anymore), I’m a staunch follower of Newcastle United.
On Sunday during a match against Wigan Athletic, shortly after coming on as a substitute, our young left back, Massadio Haïdara, whom we recently signed from Nancy of Ligue 1, was the victim of an absolutely disgusting challenge. (Here is a link to a gif: http://i.minus.com/iba88WdAqGnp90.gif)
The Referee at the time, Mark Halsley, claimed not to have seen the incident so not only did the offender, Callum McManaman, get away without a card at the time, but Newcastle weren’t even awarded a free kick for this incident. Poor officiating continued throughout the game and Newcastle eventually lost 2-1 after Wigan were incorrectly awarded a goal kick which led to a Wigan corner which was then handled in the box before the ball found it’s way into the net.
I was incredibly angry about this at the time, but now I’m livid. Why? Because despite legislation allowing them to do so, the FA have refused to retrospectively punish McManaman. They claim that one official saw the incident and to avoid “re-refereeing”, they can’t take action.
What makes this even more bizarre is that Newcastle’s assitant manager, John Carver, has been charged by the FA for confronting McManaman about the challenge and in a seperate incident, the FA have banned and fined Wilfred Zaha, a young black player, for making an “offensive” gesture towards Leeds United fans who were racially abusing him.
So, does this mean the FA have a broken moral compass? I don’t think it does - or at least I hope it doesn’t. However, it clearly shows that the current system isn’t working. Why should a player who committed a potentially career ending challenge avoid punishment because an official saw the incident and failed to act but a young player who is suffering unjust abuse from the crowd be punished for reacting? It makes no sense.
The FA have launched so many campaigns about respect for the officials in the game, but it’s incidents like this one which makes it hard to. The officiating in that game was beyond poor and the FA’s inability to take action means that they have, and as a result anything pertaining to them has, lost credibility. It’s impossible to respect referees when, for want of a better phrase, they’re fucking useless and the FA are no better.
The worst thing about this is that this isn’t the first time McManaman has hurt a player - he badly injured a Manchester City player in a reserve game. This “young” player clearly needed to learn a lesson and the FA failed to give him one. And I’d like to say I’m surprised, but the sad thing is, I’m not. FIFA, UEFA, and the FA; these are the bodies who are meant to govern football, but instead they make a mockery of it.
Find me on Twitter instead: @harvey_dodds