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UEFA’s decision to ban Eduardo for two games for his dive against Celtic in the Champions League playoffs has really polarised opinion, and some people seem to be under the impression UEFA are making up the rules as they go along here. But that isn’t the case.
In fact, back in 2006 UEFA announced players who deceive the referee will be banned for two games after video review, if there has been an “obvious error” by the on-field referee during the game.
This seems to apply in the Eduardo case, and it’s not the first time UEFA have applied this rule. In fact — and little remembered — UEFA did set a precedent for this two years ago with their ban of Lithuania’s Saulius Mikoliunas for two games for diving against Scotland (what is it with that country and diving?) after considering video evidence.
One problem, though, is the brevity of the announcement from UEFA. Their release simply says that:
The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body today examined the case of the Arsenal FC player Eduardo “for deceiving the referee” during the UEFA Champions League play-off second leg match on 26 August against Celtic FC, and has suspended the player for two UEFA club competition matches.
There’s no explanation why Eduardo was targeted for this action in terms of a mention of UEFA’s standing rule and previous action they have taken, leaving many to simply conclude UEFA only took this action due to the outcry in the media about Eduardo’s blatant dive and not because they were following their own precedent.
Moreover, as players regularly dive in UEFA competions, it seems curious that there’s no explanation of why this particular incident has led to a video review when countless others haven’t in the past. As ever, consistency is the issue.
So UEFA aren’t treating Eduardo differently or apart from their own rules; the problem is, they’ve not done a very good job of explaining that themselves.