The Football Association is to change the regulation that says retrospective disciplinary action cannot be taken against a player if one of the match officials sees the incident, the Daily Mirror has reported. The new stance comes after Wigan Athletic’s Callum McManaman escaped sanction for a knee-high challenge on Newcastle defender Massimo Haidara last season.
Referee Mark Halsey admitted he did not see the tackle and would have sent off McManaman if he did – but one of the official’s did see the incident, albeit not to the full extent, and so no retrospective action could be taken against the Latics winger.
But now the various governing bodies of English football – including the Premier League, PFA, Football League and Professional Game Match Officials – have agreed with the FA that the exceptional circumstances caveat that allowed, for example, Luis Suarez to be charged for biting Branislav Ivanovic, should be extended to include on-the-ball tackles.
The exceptional circumstances clause was also used to ban Eden Hazard for his altercation with a Swansea City ball boy and Brighton’s Ashley Barnes, who received a lengthy ban for tripping a referee.
Ben Thatcher in 2006 was the last player to be punished under the exceptional circumstances rule in relation to a tackle, after he elbow smashed Pedro Mendes while engaging in a challenge and received an eight-game ban, with a 15-game ban suspended for two years.
Haidara suffered no serious injury from McManaman’s tackle and was back playing before the end of the season, while McManaman went on to feature in Wigan’s FA Cup-winning side but could not keep the club in the top flight.
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