The FA’s current regulations meant McManaman escaped retrospective action last week despite clear evidence of how dangerous the tackle was.
The FA will now raise the issue with the other 'stakeholders’ involved in setting disciplinary guidelines – the Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers Association, League Managers Association and the match officials’ body, PGMOL – at the end of the season.
They want the definition of what constitutes “exceptional circumstances” widened, having agonised for two days last week over whether McManaman could be charged under the present restricted framework.
It is understood that the FA did want to charge McManaman but could not do so because after consulting with referees and former players, the consensus was that the 21-year-old midfielder should have received a red card and a three-match ban.
Crucially, under the current interpretation of the rules – which the FA wanted to change last summer – that would not constitute an “exceptional circumstance” and so could not have been acted upon. This was fundamental to the decision not to charge McManaman.
One of the match officials at the DW Stadium also informed the FA that he had witnessed “a coming together” of the players that went unpunished by referee Mark Halsey.
Normally, that would have meant the end of the matter but, in this case, the FA then sought advice from the PFA, LMA and referees to see whether it could be dealt with as an “exceptional circumstance” – as happened in 2006 when Ben Thatcher received an eight-match ban for elbowing Pedro Mendes.
Halsey is believed to have stated in his match report that not only did he not see the McManaman incident, but if he had done he would have red-carded the player.
He is also thought to have urged for retroactive action to be taken and has been left distraught by the criticism he has faced.