Early Doors

Eduardo row misses the point

Early Doors

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Early Doors takes a pretty hard line when it comes to
divers. It would cut their hands off if it could - although the loss of body
parts might affect their balance and make them even more prone to tumbling uncontrollably.

Last week ED advocated the systematic use of TV replays
to identify divers and punish them.

The thing is, you can hardly blame players for trying to
con the ref when it is so easily done and the repercussions are minimal. And
you can hardly blame referees for getting the odd decision when the game is
faster than ever and every player on the pitch is trying it on.

So the only way to stamp it out is to use the available
technology. And by 'technology' ED does not mean anything grandiose. It means the
same equipment that is available to any chump with a VHS.

That being the case, you might think ED would be pleased
to see UEFA investigating Celtic's
claim that Eduardo dived to win a penalty for Arsenal yesterday. But it isn't.

First of all, the player clearly dived. Whether or not
Boruc brushed his leg, the striker chucked himself to the deck in an attempt to
win a penalty.

It is not about contact, it is about intent. And Eduardo's intent was to con the ref. Which he did.

But what ED is uneasy with is that UEFA only took action
after SFA chief Gordon Smith kicked up an almighty fuss - Celtic boss Tony
Mowbray was typically and admirably phlegmatic about the whole thing.

There is nobody who seriously thinks Eduardo's dive changed the outcome of the tie, and jet the
issue has jumped to the top of UEFA's
inbox simply as a result of some administrator getting uppity.

Diving should not be dealt with on a case-by-case basis
- and only if somebody important complains loudly  enough - every game should be
looked at as a matter of course to identify diving, and the appropriate action

Hundreds of clear dives have already taken place in
leagues across the continent this season, and yet UEFA is focusing on a single
instance just to make it look like it cares. There is nothing systematic about this
- it is tokenism.

- - -

COMING UP: We have the Champions League draw LIVE at 17:00 UK time, and it will be
worth following as there is a good chance of an English team being grouped with
Real Madrid.

There is also exhaustive Europa League all evening, featuring
Amkar Perm v Fulham, Sigma Olomouc v Everton, Hearts v Dinamo Zagreb and Aston Villa v Rapid Vienna.


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