Monday, September 14, 2009

UEFA say it wasn’t a dive

NO DIVE ... UEFA has reversed its ruling

EDUARDO was celebrating last night after UEFA made one of the biggest U-turns in football history.

The Arsenal striker had his two-match Euro ban scrapped on appeal following accusations he dived in last month's Champions League tie with Celtic.

UEFA have now been branded 'stupid and incompetent.'

Eduardo, who can play against Standard Liege tomorrow, said: "I certainly feel relieved.

"I did not want to say anything until I was proved innocent. I am not a cheat. I don't dive. And I was very upset when people thought I had."

The UEFA backdown will shock Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson and Chelsea skipper John Terry who insisted Eduardo dived to win a penalty in the qualifier.

UEFA claim they could not be 100 per cent certain Eduardo had fallen to deceive the referee.

But Europe's governing body was slaughtered by former Gunners stars Perry Groves and Frank McLintock.

Groves said: "This makes UEFA look completely incompetent and it shows Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was right all along.

"He would have collected the evidence of every player diving in European games and would have demanded they were all banned.

"It would have opened a massive can of worms and UEFA weren't ready for it."

McLintock, Double-winning captain in 1971, said: "It probably makes UEFA look a bit stupid that they are giving out a ban one week and then reversing it the week after.

"But I am really pleased with the news. He's been a model pro and never puts a foot wrong.

"He suffered an horrific injury but managed to get back to full fitness and is one of the good guys in the game.

"I am not just saying that because I am an Arsenal man but because he is one of the players who always tries to do his best."

A statement from Arsenal said: "We are grateful the appeal body focused on the evidence and made the right decision. We were able to show there was contact between the goalkeeper and Eduardo."

Players' chief Gordon Taylor said: "The governing bodies have acknowledged the referee has to be the sole arbiter of events on the pitch at the time.

"Even if we were to use technology to make judgments, it should be during the game.

"There may well be cases when the referee does not see an incident and it is appropriate to make judgments afterwards.

"But when the ref has seen the incident, we have to take his word, otherwise we go down a very dangerous road."


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