Wigan Chairman Defends Callum McManaman's Tackle Against Newcastle (Video)

Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterMarch 19, 2013

It was a tackle that sent a player to the hospital. The culprit is expected to be charged by the Football Association, but for Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, it was "fair."

You've no doubt seen by now the shocking challenge Wigan's Callum McManaman put on Newcastle's Massadio Haidara on Sunday in the Premier League. If not, brace yourself and then click here.

The tackle went unpunished at the time, with referee Mark Halsey later saying he did not see the incident. (Has he been hanging out with Arsene Wenger or something?)

Haidara was sent to the hospital with suspected ligament damage and Newcastle are reportedly considering legal options. McManaman, 21, is expected to draw a charge of violent conduct from the FA (via the Guardian).

But the story does not end there. Sadly, Whelan has been defending his player in the face of all logic. For proof, see the clip above, which serves as our Set Piece Video of the Day for this Tuesday.

"These accidents do happen," Whelan told Sky Sports.

He added: "In football, you're allowed to go for the ball, and if you get the ball, I think that is fair."

That's not all. Whelan told BBC Sport that the tackle was "clean as a whistle," comparing it to one from his playing days that ended with his leg broken.

"I think the ball was in between them, they've both gone for it fairly and the follow through is where the collision is," Whelan said. "You can't just drop your foot or stop, they are both going at each other at 18 or 20 mph and they collide. It happens."

Former referee Graham Poll disagreed. In his Daily Mail column, Poll ripped referee Halsey for bad positioning and movement throughout the match.

"Refereeing is difficult but referees’ bosses have always said they cannot defend the indefensible, so Halsey should expect to miss plenty of Premier League games after not even identifying the challenge as a foul," Poll wrote.

What do you think, readers? Is Whelan defending the indefensible? If so, what kind of punishment should McManaman receive?

Let us know in the comments below.

(h/t 101 Great Goals)