Friday, August 28, 2009

One thing that unites football fans in anger these days is cheating players. Whether that be divers, those feigning injury, using a sly hand or whatever, it just drives fans crazy.

For anyone that saw Wednesday night's Champions League match between Arsenal and Celtic at the Emirates Stadium, the main post match talking point sadly wasn't the Gunners clinical display, but that of the penalty that Da Silva Eduardo won by taking a clear dive in the box.

It's hard to argue that the decision turned the match as Arsenal were clearly the better side over the two legs and would probably have run out clear winners anyway, but the first goal on the night was very important and it then forced Celtic to push forward gung ho and leave themselves exposed at the back.

You also can't blame the referee Manuel Gonzalez for giving the penalty as his view of the incident from behind and Eduardo's actions would have looked like a clear cut penalty to anyone, no matter how much Artur Boruc protested that he never touched him.

It was fantastic then to hear today that UEFA have charged the Croatian international with diving and that he faces probably a two match ban.

Arsene Wenger's outraged reaction is not unexpected. "I find it a complete disgrace and unacceptable," said Wenger "It singles out a player to be a cheat and that is not acceptable. We will not accept the way Uefa has treated this.".

The thing with this voyeur is that he did cheat, so what's your point here?

Wenger is arguing that you can't prove that he dived, just that he moved his legs away - in a "I've just been assaulted by the goalie" kind of way. Total bullshit. Eduardo knew exactly what he was doing and the other argument that he was worried about suffering another leg break doesn't hold sway either.

Eduardo knew that he wasn't touched. He knew that it wasn't a penalty. He could easily have missed the penalty that he then got up to take, but he didn't.

Wenger's continued defence of his player and the actions are almost worse than those of Eduardo in the first place.

UEFA's punishment of Eduardo certainly won't stamp out the cheats, but it certainly does send the message that they have no place to hide and that they will use television evidence after the event to punish the scumbags. It's certainly a good way forward and one that hopefully all leagues around the world that can use this technology will hopefully adopt. I know a lot already do.

The cheats can never win or else the game has no meaning.


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