You might have seen the rather outrageous dive by Arsenal’s Eduardo which gave the Londoners the lead from the penalty spot against Celtic in the Champions League yesterday. What’s unusual is that UEFA have commented publically on it: “We are reviewing the match to see whether a disciplinary investigation should be launched,” a UEFA official said.
Perhaps more interesting for the future is the belief of Michel Platini that the further introduction of an assistant referee behind each goalline could have a critical deterrent effect on diving — most discussion of the trial run of extra referees has focused on goalline calls, but Platini believes the impact on simulation would be severe. “One day players will give up simulating because referees will see them,” he said. “For years players have cheated because the referees were not of a good enough quality. I am convinced if you have referees close by that will prevent players from simulating and players will take the right decision. I have always said better to have more referees than a multiplication of disciplinary procedures.”
But would video evidence be the better route? Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith urged the use of more technology instead. Which, if either, is the right route to cut out such blatant cheating?
- UEFA boss Michel Platini has been talking tough about his concerns over the level of debt many top European teams are carrying, but it looks as if he’s actually prepared to put some sting to it: he wants new financial rules in place by 2012 stopping clubs from spending more on buying players and salaries than they generate in soccer-related income. UEFA’s executive committee is to consider the new rules at its meeting next month. It’s hard to see this ever happening, however: surely such action would be the perfect catalyst for a breakaway European Super League.
- There is of course a mountain of press about the West Ham and Millwall trouble from Tuesday to contemplate, but of all the articles out there, it’s no surprise that David Conn offers the most balanced take. He has a very interesting quote from a home office source debunking one of the most common pieces of commentary about hooliganism: “”We don’t subscribe to the idea that hooligans are not genuine fans, because that isn’t true,” the Home Office source told Conn. “These people do not want to be banned from the football experience, which is an important part of their lives. The exclusion of those who do cause trouble helps to stop people around them, who might become involved, crossing that line.”
- Portsmouth’s protracted takeover saga was finally resolved yesterday, with Sulaiman al-Fahim completing his purchase of the club. This came as a considerable surprise to the club’s chief executive Peter Storrie, as his own consortium had been expecting to complete the deal instead. al-Fahim has taken his time to get this deal done, and fans will be wondering if that’s a sign of his commitment to the deal or a warning that a smoother road does not lie ahead.
- Sid Lowe has his usual excellent preview for the La Liga season in the Guardian.
- Fifa.com has a piece on Morocco’s upcoming new season. No, I’ve never read about the big three in Moroccan football either, but get acquainted!
- It was a terrible night for Major League Soccer in continental competition last night. The Columbus Crew were humiliated 5-0 to Cruz Azul to give them what US Soccer Players kindly calls a “decidedly negative goal differential” heading into the second leg. Meanwhile, DC United are apparently not headed for another trophy as they crashed to a 3-1 defeat at home to Toluca, while Houston did have a half-decent result with a 1-1 draw with Aribe Unido at the Estadio Armando Dely Valde in a game that ended up as nine versus eight. Again, just not good enough from MLS in the Champions League.
- Nice to see a piece on the thriving Portland Timbers in the USA Today, looking at their 23 game unbeaten streak in USL and continued strong support.
- Footiebusiness looks at Houston’s stadium project, which has been in the works since the franchise was moved there from San Jose. MLS should never move a club in the first place, but doing so without a firm stadium plan nailed down remains mysterious.
The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.