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Can Open.....Worms Everywhere

You will doubtless have heard by now of UEFA`s decision to charge Eduardo for his clear dive in the Celtic match on Wednesday night. The charge will likely lead to a two match suspension. On one hand, on straightforward moral grounds, you could very well argue that Eduardo is getting exactly what he deserves. He cheated, plain and simple. People can argue about semantics and make excuses all they like, but the fact is Eduardo violated the spirit of the game to gain an unfair advantage- that is not a point that can be reasonably deconstructed in my eyes. However, UEFA have now given themselves an enormous problem with this action- the lid has been jimmied off the tin and the worms are crawling everywhere.

The first anomaly of the retroactive charge is the first question UEFA will have to answer. Namely, had Eduardo been caught diving by the referee (and the referee really ought to have seen it as an act of simulation, it was a poorly executed belly flop and the referee`s position was excellent), he would have been yellow carded- ergo no ban would have been awarded. So UEFA have to clarify once and for all what the sanction is for diving- is it a yellow or a red card? No governing body of any repute- nor UEFA for that matter- can shift the goalposts at will, the law has to be codified and closed to vague interpretation. UEFA claim the charge is based on Article 10, paragraph 1c of the UEFA disciplinary regulations (misconduct of players) which states: 'Players may be suspended for two competition matches, or for a specified period, for acting with the obvious intent to cause any match official to make an incorrect decision or supporting his error of judgment and thereby causing him to make an incorrect decision.' So are we to expect that players will now be awarded two match suspensions for sticking their arms in the air and claiming the ball has gone out for a corner when they know full well it is a goal kick? How about when a defender trips a player in the area and the referee does not award the penalty, will the defender be retrospectively banned for not picking the ball up, spotting it up and telling the referee, "No guv, got it wrong, I tripped him"? With Eduardo`s charge, UEFA are going to have to review incidents as seemingly trivial as these or else risk being a self confessed kangaroo court. That`s a lot of work they have served themselves up on a platter. Why, it`ll leave them almost no time for ostentatious, self important cup draws that drag on for three and a half days, no time to dream up increasingly spurious international tournaments and very little time for corporate back slapping as UEFA Executives sell their children`s kidney`s to Budweiser before then lecturing the football world about financial doping.

Charging Eduardo retrospectively also sets a precedent which they must follow up. But first they are going to have to clarify whether a referee`s decision is or is not final. It is a UEFA Directive that states that if the referee has seen an incident and adjudicated it, then the action cannot be reviewed. The referee saw the incident and adjudged that Eduardo had been fouled- so when did that directive change? UEFA will have to inform us. At this point I will plead with you not to become disentangled in my forest of sarcasm, I am not against divers being punished per se, but the question of how best to punish them is not an easy one to answer. Video evidence (surely it should be called DVD Evidence by now?) is all very well, but that leaves you with the very large conundrum to answer. Who decides which incidents are worthy of review? UEFA will have to elect a panel to pore over every single incident in every single match, or else the system will effectively become trial by media- a system that is not so much open to abuse as it is dependent on it. When Steven Gerrard took a quite blatant half pike in the Kop End penalty area against Marseilles last season, UEFA did not deem the incident worthy of a second look. This is because the media almost entirely ignored the incident- it suited their agenda to do so, so hell-bent are they on projecting the image that diving is an exclusively continental pursuit. Eduardo was perhaps unfortunate that he took his deplorable action in a prime time evening game, on free to air television when Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United were not playing. Basically, the hacks had pages to fill and the viewing public had bugger all else to do. Had our match taken place twenty four hours earlier, Eduardo`s act would have been buried amongst the hand wringing over the scenes at Upton Park on Tuesday evening. Being at the behest of the media in administering justice is akin to inviting a neo-Nazi to a Bar Mitzvah.

Of course the other, perhaps more minor point, is lodged comfortably in the grey area. What constitutes a dive? Is it if there is no contact? Minimal contact? Did Tony Hibbert dive at Turf Moor on Sunday? Or did he just cleverly leave his leg out and invite contact? Did Boruc not brush Eduardo`s ankle in the challenge on Wednesday night? Almost certainly enough to knock him over, but who judges how much contact exactly warrants the firmness to knock someone to the ground? It is possible that some times (and this is not true in Eduardo`s case I don`t think) you fall automatically when you anticipate contact, just as an involuntary action? A bullet has an insufficient surface area to knock a fully grown man to the ground, yet I`d bet money you`d fall down if you were shot today. (Try it for yourself, stand outside Lewisham Civic Centre for an hour or so after 11pm tonight, that should do it). Have you ever said "ouch" when hit on the arm, even though the amount of pain you felt at contact was insignificant? Simulation is not always a clear cut matter and if UEFA have set a precedent with this incident of charging everybody that they think has dived beyond a reasonable doubt (which they have to do to protect their legitimacy), then these grey areas are going to move out of the foggy mist and into the banner headlines more and more. I don`t plead for or feel any sympathy for Eduardo here; I just hope UEFA know what they are doing. I`ll be honest with you; I don`t think they`ve got a fucking clue.LD.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday August 28 2009

Time: 1:30PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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The 1st thing they have to explain is how nobody else has been charged with diving since 2007? by this they are saying that not 1 dive has taken place in a champions league game for 2 YEARS? Then they need to explain why the referee has already reviewed the incident and stated he HAD NOT been decieved and they are over ruling him, is this referee now not fit to ref games?
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28/08/2009 13:44:00

We should not ban "any player who dives and wins a goal", it should be any player at all. Any guy who goes down after minimal contact on the half way line. Any striker who crumbles at the slightest touch of a defender. Any goalkeeper to flail around when put under pressure from the opposition. Where you dive should not change the FACT that it is a dive. Whats the point limiting the type of dive when everyone takes a fall in every other area of the pitch?
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28/08/2009 13:46:00

That's another area the rules don't specify, doesn't have to lead to a goal per se. What about when defenders pull shirts when defending corners, is that not cheating? Is that not gaining an unfair advantage? You can see that this will cause problem after problem after problem. But UEFA just take their cue from the media so I doubt they've got the cranial capacity to have thought of any of this.
Little Dutch
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28/08/2009 13:50:00

Their head of communications has just said that Diving is very rare and these incident are very isolated?! F*@king hell these guys are clowns.
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28/08/2009 13:55:00

Why don't Uefa send an ' official ' to all CL games and sit him in front of a tv monitor. He can flag up any mistakes by the Ref, and allow him to review his decision by the side of the pitch. This process would take 30 seconds, exactly half the time it took Boruc and the Celtic players to try and throttle Eddy. The Ref can then issue a yellow/red card, a penalty, corner, free kick or goal kick. Two minutes of thinking would save two days of mayhem.
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28/08/2009 13:58:00

There is no point CR as UEFA say these incidents are very rare?!!
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28/08/2009 14:05:00

Monsieur Wenger not amused, predictably. He's vowed to challenge every decision that he feels goes against Arsenal in the CL from now on. I hope he remains true to his word.
Little Dutch
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28/08/2009 14:06:00

I was surprised that he didn't mention Ashley Youg's dives last night.
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28/08/2009 14:08:00

Good article LD, even if I do stand very firmly in Eddy's corner. This charge of "deceiving a referee" is so ludicrous and so open to question that I think Arsenal should have every chance of beating it. It is AMBIGUITY of idiotically epic proportions. Are defenders going to get restrospectively banned for failing to own up to conceding a penalty that the officials missed? I'm quite certain you could employ a whole team if people to wade through video evidence enough to bury UEFA and FA offices for months. If they ban Eddy for a yellow-card infringement, I hope they're prepared for the consequences.
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28/08/2009 14:09:00

Whats the betting if Ronaldo goes ' crashing ' to the ground at the Bernabeu, or Ibrahimovich is ' scythed ' down at the Nou Camp, tv evidence will prove ' inconclusive '. Why don't Uefa and Platini just come out and say to ALL the competing English clubs : " F*ck off, we hate you.Get out of our competition".
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28/08/2009 14:15:00

Very well crafted, LD. Shared all your thoughts except for para 1 and line 8 of last para
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28/08/2009 14:19:00

All I want to do right now is shout dozens of obscenities I'm so f-----g furious. Excellent article, LD. The xenophobic selective moral outrage beggars belief.
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28/08/2009 14:47:00

I want action to be taken against rooney for diving against us in 2004/5 and rule him out of tommorows game
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28/08/2009 14:50:00

I think those of us who don't like diving do so because our sense of justice is upset when someone cheats. This action of UEFA upsets the scales much, much more than the dive ever could have. The hypcrisy, unfairness, bigotry and sheer favoritism in dealing with the matter are astounding, and cause me to completely side with Wenger and Eduardo on this. Let those *****ers eat *****, i hope our new lawyer will file a complaint for each dodgy situation in every single CL match.
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28/08/2009 14:56:00

Yes Paul, and I assume Ryan Babel will be suspended for Liverpool's first two CL games this season after Uefa carefully review his dive against us in the quarters 2 years ago. That goal was actually important mind you, and they have the power to right past wrongs now obviously. Ah yes, I was watching a replay of the game yesterday, when O'Dea went to ground like he had been shot, denying Nicky a clear goal scoring opportunity. Now this isn't as bad as what Eduardo did of course, so I'm guessing he'll be getting a one match suspension today.
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28/08/2009 14:58:00

I hope this affair will bring a very strong "us against them" attitude to the club - between the players, the fans, the club. That's what helped Italy win the last WC (it came in the middle of the scandal that saw Juve relegated), and I think it can propel us forward.
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28/08/2009 15:16:00

Absolutely ridiculous that's all I can say Celtic the sucks and SFA are a joke....not to mention UEFA....and don't get me going on that French rat Platini F***ing little rat this is why you can never compare to say Beckenbauer Miss Platini cos ur a selod soul piecde of s*** and Mr. B. is a true gentlemen along with other eg. the late Mr. Sir Bobby French F***....UEFA =$
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28/08/2009 15:28:00

Wengers press conference was outstanding 'you can break a mans leg and theres no debate, but eduardo goes down and you act like he has killed somebody'
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28/08/2009 15:30:00

"I want action to be taken against rooney for diving against us in 2004/5 and rule him out of tommorows game" - paul_ownz . . . . . . . . . . . finally someone starts making sense!
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28/08/2009 15:47:00

Ridiculous. Over the top. Excellently put by LD. The biggest problem for the UEFA now will be to ensure they are consistent in their decisions.
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28/08/2009 15:51:00

UEFA may as well suspend Eboue for his dive in the CL final in 06' that led to our goal, and punish the club by instead giving the second place medals to Villarreal
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28/08/2009 15:53:00

Exactly rocky. Or they could take away the penalty that was awarded to them in the semi, even though Lehmann saved it **erection**.
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28/08/2009 15:55:00

*************** NEWSFLASH **************************** Uefa have banned Arsenal defender Willie Young for 3 matches. His trip on West Ham's Paul Allen, in the 1980 FA Cup Final, was deemed ' deliberate ' and therefore, ' unsporting '. They have upgraded Willie's yellow card to a red, and warned him on his future conduct. Willie will miss the League games against The Red Lion and The Dog and Duck and also the re-arranged cup match away to Sporting Lesbian. Sad news indeed.
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28/08/2009 16:07:00

That numpty on Talksport has just called Arsene Wenger "an enemy of football." *********.
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28/08/2009 16:10:00

These bags of sh"ts sports writers have even started to doctor the photos, haave alook at this What a bunch of rat bags
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28/08/2009 16:12:00

I've got no problem with divers being banned, but what I want to know, nay DEMAND to know is, why now? Why is this particular incident so worthy of a ban?
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28/08/2009 16:59:00

Exactly! Why now? All I want is for Eduardo to get the same treatment as everybody else! I thought Arsene was magnificent today. And I want to know the name of that idiot on Talksport who called the genius that is Wenger "an enemy of football." It's OUTRAGEOUS. It's SCANDALOUS. Something must be done NOW. How DARE they? Time to set the lawyers loose for a case of discrimination.
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28/08/2009 17:11:00

Effing disgrace. Platini must be hanged. COming from a Chelsea fan.
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28/08/2009 17:14:00

You're right there. We should all be sticking together on this. This blatant ambiguity and downright inconsistency affects ALL of us.
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28/08/2009 17:21:00

I will NEVER, I repeat NEVER allow Talksport to be switched on in my car again. I am so angry I could spit nails.
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28/08/2009 17:25:00

The rules say that a player has to have the intent and desire to cheat the referee ...... watch the footage, he never appealed for a penalty, so how can they prove his "desire and intent" without arrogantly allowing themselves to say they knew what Eduardo was thinking. Arsenal have to explore all these avenues to make this charge go away, this is complete *********.
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28/08/2009 17:31:00

Even Andy Gray agree -,25212,12064_5520431,00.html - The strange thing about it is that it seems that the player is being penalised for the referee's incompetance. A player dives, the ref sees it, yellow card, a player dives, the ref isn't as good as the first ref to tell the difference, and a player gets a two game ban? What bull *****.
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28/08/2009 17:38:00

I totally agree. This isn't about getting a player off the hook. It's about establishing consistency within the rules for the benefit of everybody and it's also about taking the media to task on their treatment of non-English players as opposed to Gerrard, Rooney, Owen and the rest of their UNTOUCHABLE ilk. It is DEEPLY unfair. La Liga starts this weekend. I'll be getting my magnifying glass out. And the same goes for every other match this season.
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28/08/2009 17:45:00

I started out willing to be fair about this, expressing disappointment with Eduardo but after all this hysteria and blatant hypocrisy TO HELL WITH THAT! They can all go to f-----g hell and I hope Eduardo p-i-s-s-e-s them off by tearing thru the league and making their good old English boys look like chumps.
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28/08/2009 18:39:00

Tim, a precedent was previously set when a Lithuanian striker was banned for two games after a dive against ironically Scotland. Personally I think a two game suspended sentance should be appropriate with the culprit serving the sentance if caught a second time. A stand needs to be taken somewhere but Eduardo cannot be singled out, others dive and each should receive a suspended sentance if found guilty.
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28/08/2009 19:32:00

If Uefa can prove that there wasn't any contact then they will ban him. But it looks less than conclusive that there wasn't any. Without that proof then there is no way they can show 'intent to deceive'. Action against diving is fair enough and though the timing might seem unfortunate for us if the intention is to follow up all cases of cheating then ultimately it will be for the good of the game and for us as a team. Unfortunately Uefa aren't going to follow up every case. The Lithuanian ban was 2 years ago, once again following a complaint for the SFA in time honoured 'chip-on-shoulder' Scottish fashion. There have been many such cases of diving since then which have gone unchallenged. Uefa is a kangaroo court, not at all intent on justice, more concerned with the appearance of being in control. Fifa plans to introduce 2 extra 'goal line' assistant referees in the Europa cup. That seems a good way forward as they will have an extra view on all such incidents. Paradoxically, follwing such a move, Celtic will find themselves far more constrained in the way they go about their football than we would. In fact I'd warrant we would benefit enormously from tighter refereeing. In the end that's the real problem here. The standard of officiating has failed to keep step with the development of the game. Instead of simply demanding 'respect' maybe the officials need to try earning it.
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28/08/2009 19:53:00

Gerrard DIVED against Marseille last year to win a penalty, with about 2 feet of clear turf between him and the French player. WHERE is his ban and WHERE are the hacks calling HIM a cheat? Let's call a spade a spade here. It's racial discrimination.
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28/08/2009 19:55:00

I just hope this doesnt make the Arsenal players loose concentration ahead of tommorows clash, if anything Wenger could and most probably should use this incedent as a rallying cry for tommorow as it seems its everyone vs Arsenal. Also Italians dive all the time, I wouldnt go as far as saying they appalaud it but they see it as if you can con the ref without getting caught you should go for it. So im guessing if eto'o suddenly gets hit with a two match ban before a milan derby there would be outrage. Footballing bodies probably know this so if they introduce 2 match bans for diving would they have a different rules for them. Also i cant help but wonder what would have happened had it been messi in eduardo's place
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28/08/2009 21:25:00

This is lunacy from UEFA and the smug little tosser Platini. What's to stop every club forwarding video evidence from every match, where opposition players deceive the Ref with accompanying legal letters offering to sue UEFA if they aren't uniform in their dishing out of punishment? (perhaps a nice big class action lawsuit). Personally - I have no objections to Eduardo being banned if he dived (to be fair though, he didn't get up and claim/appeal after hurdling the GK - so you could argue that he jumped out of the way of an expected collision (4 games after returning from a year-ish out from a horror injury) and the ref awarded a penalty). Anyway - I will expect there will be plenty of vocal backup for claims against repeat offender "ol' brittle legs" Cristiano Ronaldo, by the English Clubs. If they stick to their policy Cristiano will play one game for every two he is suspended for. (250k/wk well spent Florentino, gj mate).
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28/08/2009 21:53:00

Keronowboy's suggestion I could get on board with. The way to officiate it wouldbe simply, player goes down, referee asks player, "Foul or not?" Player will say foul, but having done so would be open to retrospective punishment having lied so brazenly. As Amos says, intent to deceive is incredibly difficult to prove. Working where I do, I know how complicated fraud cases are! However, I don't agree officials need to earn respect- they can lose it sure. But when they step on the pitch, they embody the rules of the game and therefore automatically command respect.I suggest peple check out Platini's comments on diving- particularly when he talks about his actions in opposition penalty areas in his playing days. For once I'll admit respect for Platini here because he doesn't bull***** about it.
Little Dutch
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29/08/2009 00:30:00

I see it the other way around. Referees don't embody the rules. How they and the games officials interpret the rules and the spirit of those rules determines the respect that can be had for the rules themselves. To that extent poor officiating causes a lack of regard for the rules. That encourages cheating. The knowledge that officials are so poor at understanding the purpose of the rule book that they can give a yellow card for celebrating a goal more readily than a reckless challenge leads to a culture that has no regard for the spirit of the rules. Referees are not always allowed to use discretion in their judgements so I am not singling them out but I believe that they, and officials in the broader sense, are culpable for the level of cheating in the game. Respect can never be made mandatory. It can only ever be earned. Referees and officials of the game have to learn to govern the game in the interests of supporters and players and not some archaic notion that they themselves are the game. For that reason, for the good of the game, they have to start earning the respect of the people that matter and not simply demanding that they are entitled to receive respect regardless of their actions.
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29/08/2009 00:59:00

You lot have always been dirty cheats so whats new? The shame of it is that Wenger will never admit his players do anything wrong. Shame on Wenger, the ARseh*les and Eduardo, you bunch of dirty rotten cheats.
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29/08/2009 04:35:00

Theres always one moron with an inferiority complex^^^^^
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29/08/2009 07:50:00

In the spuds case there's a whole fanbase of them iceman! To be fair though their inferiority complex is more than justified.
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29/08/2009 09:07:00

Nice to see a Spuds fan watching the Arsenal on tv. It's ther only chance they get to see quality football and in the Champions League to boot. Double the joy.
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29/08/2009 10:35:00

I just saw Drogba cross a ball, hit the Burnley defender on the arse/back and claim handball. Surely, trying to deceive the referee !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I agree with Wenger (not with his initial analysis of the player not taking a dive, of course), but this is witch hunt. We should not confuse players having received contact and going down easily with what Eduardo did (no contact), but this will mean every referees decision being restrospectively reviewed. Will Messi be banned for butting the Donesk defender last night, surely a worse crime than Eduardo's ???????? YNWA YNWA
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29/08/2009 13:23:00

There would be no players left if UEFA followed through every time.
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29/08/2009 13:30:00

Various FA's have been pushing for sterner penalties for Simulation as they feel it has gone against the spirit of the game. Giving the impression that cheating is ok ....They have to start somewhere. So why not a high profile game like we had on Wednesday night.....I hate to see cheating of any kind , even from my own team. Last season Counago was guilty of diving in a couple of games. I hate it with a passion and i'm glad it is now being addressed. Yes it is indeed a pandoras box that has been opened , but the game has to clean up its act in this regard.
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29/08/2009 20:44:00

The solution is better officiation. FIFA plan to introduce two extra asst., refs to patrol the goal line at each end of the pitch in the Europa cup competition this season. This seems to be the way to reduce diving and the shirt pulling and pushing that goes on in the penalty box. Players like Eduardo will benefit far more from such a move than teams like Celtic will.
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29/08/2009 22:44:00

Trial by media, is it any wonder both incidents that have received judicial attention have involved Scotland?
Ozi Gooner
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30/08/2009 09:08:00


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