Oliver Brown in the Daily Telegraph reports that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will be delighted at the news that Arsenal’s appeal against Eduardo’s two game ban for diving in the game against Celtic, has been overturned a UEFA disciplinary review team.
The decision, while unexpected, appears to vindicate the Arsenal manager, who claimed that the original penalty imposed on Eduardo was entirely subjective and merely a selective decision by UEFA to punish Arsenal for reasons less to do with the original offense, but more to do with making an example of a high profile English based team.
Wenger had remarked that he felt UEFA were in an invidious position over their decision, feeling that the decision to impose a ban retrospectively, ignoring the decision made by officials, allowed UEFA carte blanche to question any officials decision in any game. A notion which Wenger felt was entirely unworkable and thus, with UEFA’s appeal body now deciding that it could not prove Eduardo had deliberately deceived referee Manuel Gonzalez it announced last night;
“Following examination of all the evidence, notably the declarations of both the referee and the referees’ assessor, as well as the various video footage, it was not established to the panel’s satisfaction the referee had been deceived.”
As a result of this, Eduardo’s two games ban was overturned allowing the Croatian to take his place in the Arsenal team for this weeks Champions League clash with Standard Liege. Eduardo was understandably delighted at the unexpected turn of events stating;
“As soon as I had possession of the ball I headed towards goal at full speed,” he said. “I was very close to the Celtic keeper and felt contact on my foot and then lost my balance. I know perhaps more than anyone else that when you have contact at speed it can be dangerous.
“I am a fair player. To score goals you must take your opportunities and I’m not the type of player who needs to be dishonest to score.”
So what do you think? Is this a massive vindication for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger? Another embarrassing climbdown for UEFA whose ill thought out punishment never had a realistic chance of success, or has football been the loser and has a cheat been allowed to prosper and get away with it due to a legal technicality, when morally his actions were largely indefensible?
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