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FA Need To Answer The Key Question On Haidara

8 years ago
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What strikes me as odd about this FA statement is how it is so carefully worded: the curious use of the terms “the coming together” and “the challenge” in the context of the inability to re-referee incidents.

“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.  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”.

What, dear reader, is the incident in the case of McManaman?  Is it “the coming together” (a somewhat vague concept which could cover anything from the captain’s handshake, through a clash of heads and obstruction, to tackles fair and foul), or is it “the challenge” (that is, McManama’s studs being embedded into Haidara’s leg above the knee)?  I would not insult your intelligence and the good name of Haidara by suggesting that the incident could be anything other than “the challenge”.

However, the FA statement informs the reader that the incident was “the coming together”, not “the challenge”.  That is clearly hogwash.  It does not matter about “the coming together”; even the referee saw “the coming together”.  What matters is if the FA match officials saw the incident, if the FA match officials saw McManaman’s studs being embedded into Haidara’s leg above the knee.  The referee has said that if he’d seen that incident, if he’d seen McManaman’s studs being embedded into Haidara’s leg above the knee, he would have sent McManaman off.

So, it is quite extraordinary that the FA statement does not answer the key question: did any other FA match official see McManaman’s studs being embedded into Haidara’s leg above his knee?  Yes or no?  Either an FA match official saw McManaman’s studs being embedded into Haidara’s leg above the knee, or none of them did.  We know that the referee didn’t see it.  We also know that none of the other FA match officials saw it ‘just a little bit’, just like one cannot be a little bit pregnant. They either saw McManaman’s studs being embedded into Haidara’s leg above the knee, or they didn’t.

I am not suggesting for one moment that in order to absolve itself from having to take a decision whether or not to take further action against McManaman, the FA released a statement that was deliberately designed to mislead the reader into believing that an FA match official saw McManaman’s studs being embedded into Haidara’s leg above the knee, whilst not actually saying so because to have said so would have been a porky pie.  However, if no FA match official saw McManaman’s studs being embedded into Haidara’s leg above the knee, why didn’t the FA statement simply say that?

Newcastle United, the media, sponsors, players and fans of the Beautiful Game should demand, and not rest until they receive, an unequivocal yes or no answer to the question: did any FA match official see the incident, did any FA match official see McManaman’s studs being embedded into Haidara’s leg above the knee?

David Bernstein, the ball is under your control; please use it rather than risk receiving a McManaman tackle as to your competence.

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