Aside from the infamous 'Hand of God' goal, never has a split-second of football that has been put under the proverbial microscope like this. And in all my years, never can I remember a situation being mishandled to such an extreme degree.
Even as an Arsenal fan, I have to say that upon review of the video evidence, Eduardo seemed to go down with minimal—if any—contact on the part of Artur Boruc. That much we can all agree on.
But the press and UEFA have deemed this one incident—in isolated incident for Eduardo—worthy of needless condemnation and disciplinary hearings. The Croatian is set to learn his fate tomorrow, when UEFA decides if his actions are worthy of a two-match ban.
That, my friends, is where UEFA has gone too far.
Yes, Eduardo was guilty of going down far too easily in drawing the penalty against Celtic.
No, it did not change the outcome of the two-legged tie against Celtic, nor did it change the eventual outcome of even the second leg. It was not the earth-shattering, game changing moment that UEFA and the pundits would have us believe.
It's disgusting that UEFA is even giving this five minutes of thought. Why choose this moment to speak out about diving rather than the dozens of incidents in past years that arguably had a greater effect on the outcome of a match?
If UEFA is determined to throw the book at Eduardo and retroactively punish him for his actions, then consistent treatment is needed for all participants in these competitions. You can't make an example out of one player and let the rest slide by.
While their intent may be to discourage any future incidents, other players are just going to look at the percentages and decide that the odds are on their side and continue diving regardless.
If Eduardo is forced to sit out a couple of matches because of some bloodthirsty UEFA suits, then we should reasonably expect all divers—past and present—to be handed a similar ban for their actions.
I'll even help UEFA with their future investigations. There's a lengthy list of known divers from which to choose. We can go after Cristiano Ronaldo, Drogba, Robben, or even Steven Gerrard.
Yes, England's Golden Child is guilty of some pretty heinous dives. Ask Atletico Madrid fans how they felt after Gerrard flung himself recklessly into one of their defenders—himself committing a foul in the eyes of most impartial observers—and drew a penalty for his troubles.
If that isn't enough to convince you, ask AC Milan fans about that final. Gerrard's dive (at 35 seconds in this clip) led to a penalty that undoubtedly changed momentum, and eventually the outcome, of the match.
By the newly-formed Eduardo Standard, Gerrard should be facing a four-match ban.
I'm willing to bet that most fans would disagree with that argument, but it's no less ridiculous than what is happening to Eduardo right now. The match official made an honest mistake and missed the infringement, so UEFA is seeking to retroactively punish the striker.
There is no statute of limitations governing the punishment of divers, so it's time for UEFA to go back through their video archives and start doling out the punishment.
Either that, or end the hypocrisy all together and allow Eduardo to play.
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