PARIS (Reuters) – Newcastle United’s Massadio Haidara has called on the football authorities to banish dangerous tackles after he was the victim of a knee-high challenge by Wigan Athletic’s Callum McManaman.
Haidara, a France Under-21 defender, told the French daily Le Parisien he thought his career was over following McManaman’s tackle in a Premier League game on Sunday.
The Wigan midfielder escaped punishment from the referee on the pitch and from the English Football Association following the game.
The governing body said it would not take retrospective action on the principle of avoiding the "re-refereeing of incidents" that had been seen by at least one of the officials.
"It’s hard to swallow. I don’t understand. He could have broken my career and my life and he will play football again before I do. One cannot tolerate that in football," said Haidara.
"Everything must be done to banish those gestures. Authorities must act on it…
He added: "I’ve had some checks (on Wednesday) and the ligaments are not damaged. I am relieved. I thought McManaman had broken my leg or destroyed my knee.
"It was horrible. I was in shock. I told myself that maybe I would never play football again.
"I had never seen such a tackle in my life."
The incident resulted in intense media scrutiny and sparked an exchange of words between officials at the two clubs in the aftermath.
Wigan owner Dave Whelan, a former player whose own career was cut short by a leg-breaking tackle in the 1960 FA Cup final, described McManaman’s challenge as fair, prompting an angry response from Newcastle’s managing director Derek Llambias.
Llambias said English soccer’s disciplinary procedures were "not fit for purpose" after the FA refused to act.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore entered the debate on Thursday, saying the FA should have taken retrospective action against the Wigan player.
"I don’t think anybody in the Premier League, perhaps bar Wigan, would have complained had they decided this was exceptional," Scudamore said on the BBC.
"That’s where the Premier League is on this, I don’t think the rules need changing, I don’t think the line needs moving. If they have the ability to deal with an exceptional incident, it looked to most of us that was an exceptional incident."
Haidara said he still did not know when he would play again.
"I feel better but the doctors are cautious. When I will be back there will be some apprehension, it’s normal. But I’m mentally tough," he said.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Additional reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by John Mehaffey)
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