Wigan's match with Newcastle United turned ugly this weekend when Latics forward Callum McManaman's reckless tackle on Newcastle's Massadio Haïdara left the latter with a season-ending knee injury. Things got even uglier in the aftermath.
Following the Football Association's decision not to punish McManaman, the young Wigan player faced threats of both the death and legal varieties. Insult having already been added to injury when match referee Mark Halsey elected not to book McManaman (or even to award Newcastle a free kick), debate has raged across English football regarding the validity of the FA's esoteric rules and regulations.
FA says it can only punish players for on-pitch behavior when the act in question goes unobserved by match officials; since a lineman claims to have witnessed the reckless tackle—deeming it legal in the moment—league officials claim their hands are tied. (It doesn't help that Wigan keeps insisting it was a fair play.)
You can read more about this over at Sidespin, but our take is the same as it has been for years: the officiating system in soccer is a mess, from the complete absence of technology/replay to the ultimate reliance upon a single human being to moderate the on-pitch behavior of 22 players. That the FA passes the buck on discipline to assistant referees whose view of incidents rarely rivals that of television cameras is a joke.