English Premier League referees are again capturing headlines and for all the wrong reasons.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardrew was left fuming at referee Mark Halsey after his defender Massadio Haidara was forced to leave the field on a stretcher following a brutal knee-high tackle by Wigan’s Callum McManaman in Sunday’s English Premier League contest.
McManaman came in late, with his studs showing, and made full contact with Haidara’s knee. Shockingly The horrific challenge – which left jaws dropping around the soccer world – went unpunished by Halsey.
The Football Association announced on Monday that the play is indeed being reviewed.
Haidara, who was making his suffered a knee injury on the play but the club was still awaiting word on the extent of the damage.
Former Manchester United great Dwight Yorke labelled the challenge “career threatening” during television coverage of the game.
Meanwhile, Magpies assistant manager John Carver was so enraged with the play that he confronted McManaman as the two teams left the field at the end of the first half, with Carver needing to be restrained by Pardrew and teammates. No stranger to fits of rage in the past, Carver received a red card and could face suspension following his actions.
There is also no word on what action will be taken against Newcastle defender/midfielder Ryan Taylor who took to Twitter following the game to slam McManaman for his actions.
“Wow. Not even a yellow #baffled,” Tweeted Taylor. “Nothing to do with the scoreline and the fact it was a red but as a footballer it’s the definition of a ‘s***house tackle’. I hope Sadio is ok.”
Pardrew told England’s Telegraph that Halsey apologized to him at halftime.
“At half-time (Halsey) said ‘If I’ve missed it I apologize,” said Pardrew. “It’s an awful challenge. The pictures speak for themselves. I thought it was a bad challenge and I was 60 yards away from the incident”
Halsey also told Pardrew he never saw the tackle happen, which he claimed left him powerless to make a ruling.
However that comment didn’t sit well with former EPL referee Graham Poll who writes a column in English newspaper The Daily Mail.
“If Halsey says his view was blocked by a Newcastle player, the FA can take retrospective action, but that is too easy an excuse. In reality his positioning was poor and his restricted view was caused by a lack of movement which was in evidence throughout.”
Later on Monday the FA confirmed it is infact looking at taking retrospective action against McManaman, with many soccer insidcers expecting him to receive a minimum three-game ban.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez came to the defence of McCallum, who was making his full EPL debut, and was “giving everything” while also noting the player wants to apologize to Haidra.
I haven’t seen the replay,” Martinez told SkySports following the match. “I believe that he [McManaman] touches the ball and then it’s a bad challenge, but it’s nothing malicious, he’s not that sort of boy.”
Martinez and Wigan chairman Dave Wheelan both maintain that McMananman made contact with the ball during the tackle. Martinez also came out in defence of the tackle making a statement on Monday.
“The ball was there and McManaman got the ball as clean as a whistle, then followed through and they collided,” Whelan told BBC Sport.
To add insult to injury for the Magpies, Wigan won the game 2-1 on a disputed goal. Wigan’s Arouna Kone capitalized on a goalmouth scramble in which teammate Maynor Figueroa appeared to have handled the ball.
Halsey allowed the goal to stand despite furious protests from Newcastle.
The dubious challenge captured headlines across England and as part of its coverage The Sun newspaper posted an impressive list of soccer’s five worst tackles on its website.
This latest controversy wasn’t the only refereeing controversy in the EPL. Our latest Keeping Them Honest post covers refereeing news from around the world.