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Saturday, August 29, 2009

UEFA getting it wrong again with Eduardo hysteria - Arsenal v Celtic

UEFA announced that its disciplinary unit was studying footage of the incident and had the authority to ban him for two European matches if it felt he had cheated.

The Scenario
In case you missed the incident, on a wet and slippery autumn evening in North London, two players challenging for a football at some pace go to ground in the penalty area - it's a tough call.

We see these situations hundreds of times a season, and all eyes go instantly to the referee, who has to make an instant decision, because the ruling bodies of football (FIFA and UEFA) have decided that use of video replay technology is unacceptable.

The referee, who was behind the action at the time, chooses a penalty (which as Gooner I thought it was at the time too - based on the initial TV angle).

However, for us at home, the subsequent television replays showed that the referee was wrong, and the keeper did not touch Eduardo. But that's a long way from saying that Eduardo cheated and should be banned.

The referee had three possible calls to make :
1) It was a foul and therefore a penalty.
2) There was no foul and was a goalkick - or corner - depending on the last touch
3) Eduardo "simulated" a foul and should receive a yellow card.

We can see in the replay that option #1 is wrong - but unless you are Uri Geller (is he still alive?) and can read minds - I can't see anything in the replay that suggests option #3 is correct either.

Remember, it's wet, the players are moving at pace, and probably most importantly, Eduardo has just come back from an 18 month injury in a similar contact situation. I have no doubt in my mind that he jumped to avoid injury.

How does a possible yellow card become a suspension?
Furthermore, even if the referee had decided upon option #3, the punishment for simulation is NOT a two-match suspension, but a straight YELLOW card. That's it. On the scale of offences committed on the football field - it's at about the same level as taking off your shirt to celebrate a goal.

Given both UEFA and FIFA's reluctance to use TV replays at any level of football to help referees to make correct decisions DURING the game, I'm amazed that they are advocating the use of replays to now go back and turn possible YELLOW CARD offences into SUSPENSIONS.

If the referee calls option #2 then there is no issue to go on with? And if he calls option #3 then it's a yellow card and it's dealt with? But somehow because of a referee call this is now a heinous footballing crime?

Where will it lead us?
Are UEFA also going to use replays to punish every defender that tugs a shirt? That action is a clear and obvious yellow card according to the rules of the game and goes unpunished.

What about verbal abuse of the referee and linemen? Now that UEFA are prepared to be mind readers to determine Eduardo's fate, are UEFA now also going to employ lip readers to apply retrospective yellow cards (and suspensions?) to all players who mouth off at officials - as laid out in the games statutes?

IF this happens then we will soon be watching games that are reduced to 8-a-side or more, and clubs will need to have squads of 50+ players to handle all the additional suspensions!

Obviously my extrapolation of UEFA's intent appears ridiculous, but it is the logical extension of UEFA's new found determination to embrace video technology to clean up the game.

Where did this mandate come from? Why hasn't it been announced? OR perhaps, just perhaps, this is another case of Michel Platini shooting his mouth off again without engaging his brain?

Get a technology grip and move on
Yes, UEFA should be using TV replays for important events DURING the game - but they're not likely to anytime soon.

And this "kangaroo-court" video committee that has been whipped up by the Scottish FA and UEFA as a response to some hysterical reaction will not serve as a suitable substitute.

UEFA president Michel Platini either needs to provide stable, sensible, football based leadership - or else get off the throne.

1 comment:

bigdavestar said...

Eduardo clearly dived and should have been given a yellow card. The fact the referee judged it to be a penalty at the time should be the end of the matter though. I agree when Wenger says that UEFA have opened a dangerous door once they have gone above the referees decision. What about the punishment to West Ham and Millwall football clubs to the disgraceful behaviour of their fans?!