UEFA's Actions Stand to Make Diving More Prominent
If anyone was fooled into thinking that UEFA were about to launch an unprecedented clampdown on diving―and I don't think there were many―then they will be left disappointed.
According to the Times today, there is no improved bid to eradicate simulation by UEFA, for the fear they could, believe it not, undermine referees.
This decision will, firstly, infuriate Arsene Wenger, who feels Arsenal have been singled out, and secondly, do nothing to make players think twice about going down like the proverbial sack of spuds in the future.
In fact it will make it more likely, more prominent, and harder for referees to deal with.
Arsenal have already said that they will apply pressure on UEFA to enforce consistent punishment across the board.
But a cowardly UEFA will ban Eduardo and then take a backseat on the issue. Because they know they have been made to look like a shambles. Which means the system will open to further abuse. Expect more player simulation than ever.
Notice how Michel Platini has had nothing to say on the issue? Arsenal won't come out of this episode with any credit but UEFA have borne the brunt of far more criticism.
Eduardo dived. Just as Rooney did on last Saturday (the only difference being that Manual Almunia was stupid enough to take the bate); just as Ryan Babbel did against Arsenal in the 2007 Champions League quarterfinal second leg at Anfield; just as Robbie Fowler did at Highbury in 1997, when he got up and told the referee that David Seaman had pulled his arms away at the last second.
Of course only one of these other incidents was under the jurisdiction of UEFA. Nonetheless it all amounts to Arsenal feeling as if they have been purposely picked on.
As former referee Dermot Gallagher has pointed out, banning Eduardo for two games increases his punishment six-fold compared to if he had received the usual yellow card.
There is a growing feeling that the games governing bodies have something of a grudge against the big four in the Premier League. That feeling won't be tamed by FIFA's extraordinary transfer sanction on Chelsea today.
They say decisions tend to go the way of the big boys in the Premier League. Maybe that's not the case on the European stage.
But until governing bodies provide clear guidelines on procedures, players will continue to take advantage and dive. Just like MPs took advantage of the expenses system. It's human nature.
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