Eduardo’s two match ban for diving has been quashed after UEFA accepted an appeal from Arsenal.
The striker was given the punishment after appearing to deceive the referee during a Champions League qualifying match with Celtic.
The incident generated a huge amount of media attention and many believed that it would open the door to a significant crackdown on diving in football. However there were also a number of concerns about Uefa’s decision to use retrospective punishment and Arsenal described the resultant ban as “deeply flawed”.
The most significant questions related to the seemingly inconsistent nature of the punishment. Very few players have been retrospectively banned for diving and so no real precedent had been set, therefore it was only natural that Arsenal felt Eduardo was being made an example of.
There were also concerns over the legality of any such ban, as Eduardo would only have received a yellow card during the match if the referee had deemed him to have dived.
Unfortunately, the incident and Uefa’s subsequent handling of it, has done nothing to answer any of these questions. Indeed the ban has eventually been overturned due to all parties agreeing that the Arsenal player did not dive in the first place.
A statement from Uefa said: “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 our satisfaction that the referee had been deceived in taking his decision on the penalty.”
Arsenal can now include Eduardo in their squad for Wednesday’s match with Standard Liege. A club statement said: “We were able to show there was contact between the keeper and Eduardo and that the decision should be annulled,”
“We are glad to put this incident behind us and concentrate on the games ahead.”