Today, we had an element of justice in a season where – even the most neutral fan – would agree that we’ve had a fair amount of key decisions go against us. UEFA handed Eduardo a two match ban in a very arbitrary way, which no real grounding for it. It was a bolt out of the blue, and many people think it was due to the Scottish influences at the UEFA helm.
The two match ban was confirmed last week and we had until the end of the week to appeal. Arsene was 110% behind Eduardo, whom himself believed he was innocent. Video footage of the incident remained inconclusive, but the general consensus from replays is that it looked like a genuine fall. The appeal was sent to UEFA on Thursday last week and the result today gave Eduardo the all clear.
The statement from UEFA to Arsenal was worded like this:
“The UEFA Appeals Body today accepted the appeal lodged by Arsenal FC against the two-match suspension handed to striker Eduardo.
“Following examination of all the evidence, notably the declarations of both the referee and the referees’ assessor, as well as the various video footage, it was not established to the panel’s satisfaction that the referee had been deceived in taking his decision on the penalty.
“Therefore, the decision of the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body of 1 September, in which the player was suspended for two UEFA club competition matches, is annulled.”
And following the statement was released by Arsenal:
“We are grateful that the Appeals Body focused on the evidence and made the right decision in this case. We were able to show that there was contact between the goalkeeper and Eduardo and that the decision of the UEFA Disciplinary body should be annulled.
“We fully support the drive for fair play in football and believe it is important that UEFA provide clear and comprehensive standards that will be consistently enforced going forward.
“We are glad to put this incident behind us and concentrate on the games ahead.”
Absolutely the right result. The video evidence submitted to UEFA by the club clearly showed that the right leg of the keeper hit Eduardo’s foot and it was that collision that sent him tumbling. If you review the following video, and watch the third replay, when you watch the play from behind, you can clearly see that Eduardo was tripped.
And finally, we’ve heard now from Eduardo, who we should see start for us against Liege on Wednesday.
“I’m very pleased that we have finally arrived at the truth. All we needed to do was to prove what happened and we have managed to do that. This decision makes me feel a lot better. I certainly feel relieved now. I have had great support from my family, friends and of course everyone at the Club. Now I just want to forget about this and think about our match against Standard Liege on Wednesday. I was always prepared for the match in Belgium because I had good feeling and I always remained positive about the outcome. Now we have a final result, I can now look forward to helping the team on Wednesday night. All I remember of the incident is that as soon as I had possession of the ball I headed towards goal at full speed. I was very close to the Celtic keeper and felt contact on my foot and then lost my balance. I know perhaps more than anyone else that when you have contact at speed it can be dangerous. I just want to say that I’m a fair player. To score goals you must take your opportunities and I’m not the type of player who needs to be dishonest to score goals.”
It’s so good that justice prevailed and that UEFA annulled their own decision. For the authorities to act so rashy and out of order, it did seem a very unthoughtful move – the influences within the Scottish FA certainly a big factor. Since that decision, we’ve seen Wayne Rooney dive twice – once against us and then once for England and no one has battered an eye lid. Crazy double standards.
I’ll be very happy when Eduardo graces the field on Wednesday and I believe we’ll see a very good performance from him – this latest decision will be like a weight lifted off his shoulders.
The announcement of the decision is a little timely for the thug that is our former player in Emmanuel Adebayor, whom has had severe media coverage and a lot of critism for his actions over the weekend. It looks like he will be given a 5 match ban - 3 for the stamp and 2 for the celebration. We’re yet to see if the FA will follow it up, but it will virtually impossible for them to take no action.
Only time will tell, but after the controversy of the early season, we’ve got a few good games to look forward and get some Champions League and Premier League points on the board. Starting with Liege on Wednesday and then Wigan at the Emirates on Saturday….
Come on you Gooners!