In a landmark decision, UEFA have banned Arsenal’s Croatian international Eduardo da Silva for an alleged dive in Arsenal’s Champion’s League match against Celtic last week. Using video evidence, the UEFA panel found Eduardo guilty of deceiving the referee by going to ground apparently without making contact with Celtic keeper Artur Boruc.
The decision has caused much controversy in the football world. It seems that people are almost unanimous in the belief that something needs to be done about diving, yet the controversy comes from the belief that Eduardo has been used as a token example, with Arsene Wenger describing the decision as a “witch-hunt” and adding that “it singles the player out as a cheat”.
In making this decision, the governing body has set a precedent that they have to follow not only at European competition level, but in all UEFA leagues. Consistency is essential if UEFA are to avoid a mass backlash from fans and players alike. An Arsenal club statement said, “We believe it is imperative that Uefa’s explanation for its decision provides clear and comprehensive standards that will be consistently enforced.” One of the big problems faced is working out what is and isn’t a “dive”, with many people believing that Boruc did in fact make contact with the Croatian striker.
Arsenal are set to appeal against the decision, which if it stands, will see Eduardo miss Arsenal’s two opening group matches at Standard Liege on the 16th of September and Olympiakos on the 29th.