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Eduardo And Chelsea: Inconsistent Bans Lack Credibility


UEFA handed Arsenal’s Eduardo a two-match ban for diving against Celtic, a simulation that won the Gunners a penalty. FIFA have now banned Chelsea FC from signing any new players until January 2011 since it’s been revealed Chelsea induced Gael Kakuta to break his contract with Lens in 2007. Kakuta now plays for Chelsea’s youth side.

While one sanction has much larger consequences (Eduardo out for two matches pales heavily in comparison to Chelsea being able to shape their side in the next two windows) they both share a major quality: Eduardo and Chelsea have been singled out in a world of multiple perpetrators. They are the fall guys. The scapegoats.

As with most supporters, I am eager to see such diving and inducing quelled and contained. FIFA and Uefa might have the right idea with these motions against Eduardo and Chelsea, but until such actions become universal in football, these bans will remain nothing more than isolated examples. Their effectiveness will remain muted. The punishments singe one London club and scald another, but the problems they address remain unchanged.

I called for Eduardo’s ban last week. But not to single the player out. I wanted to see retroactive punishment for diving implemented. But it must be implemented across the board to work. If these incidents are acted upon only once in a while, the punishment is nothing more than an amplified version of the booking the player already recieves when caught by the ref during the match. In other words, players are not truly deterred because they know they can get away with diving enough of the time. It is still worth the risk to see your side benefit from the free kick or penalty because the governing body probaby won’t go back and review the incident.

The unprescidented ban on Chelsea has more deterring power than the ban on Eduardo. If Chelsea are unable to contest the decision, clubs will have to take pause and ponder their future transfer windows before they consider similar swoops on contracted players. But as this is a lone punishment in a long history of transfer market conniving, it is hard to take it too seriously. If FIFA hand out a similar sanction the next time a club induces a player to break contract, we might see some effect. But at the moment it looks like FIFA are simply coming down on Chelsea. The fall guys.

FIFA and Uefa are headed in the right direction. Only they are full of too much hesitation. Eduardo and Chelsea feel persecuted because they are singled out. It would be much harder to complain if these punishments were systematized.

The governing bodies won’t eradicate cheating. Not on the pitch and not behind the scenes. But they could quell it and give it little room to breathe if they woud only commit to fighting cheating consistently and fairly.

If the next Champions League dive brings on an investigation or if the next transfer window infringment spawns a punishment, then the bans from the last week will make more sense. For now they are barely more than symbolic gestures. Uncredible. Unimpressive. Impotent.

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  1. brn442

    September 4, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Hmm, last week you called for Eduardo’s ban, but not to single the player out. Ethan, I love your sketches fella but somtimes your thoughts are about as useful as Andrew Cole in an England shirt.

  2. ish

    September 4, 2009 at 12:11 am

    “It shall be presumed, unless established to the contrary, that any club signing a professional who has terminated his contract without just cause has induced that professional to commit a breach. The club shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for two registration periods.”

    important line because kakuta wasnt a pro when he signed with chelsea, he was 15 and not able to sign pro contracts under french law. So its not the same as the mexes and FC sion case at all. if anything the le havre case vs manU is the only same case around, which does make the case against chelsea a precident. ManU will have vested interest because we could see similar fines coming to all english clubs that have signed young players from foreign clubs in the last 2 years.

    • Adam Mikhail

      September 4, 2009 at 12:46 pm

      You are correct. Philippe Mexes had a professional contract with Auxerre when he signed for Roma. This is not the case with Kakuta, as is being reported.

  3. Tim

    September 3, 2009 at 9:46 pm


    Thanks for the offer, I saw you put out a call for new writers earlier this week and because I like the idea of the site, I seriously considered applying but ultimately I decided I would rather continue to build my own site. I write every day over at about the Arsenal from an American perspective and you and your readers are welcome to come over every day and rip me a new one, trust me, I can handle it.

    I think, honestly, if we had a beer we’d be fast friends. If you’re in Seattle PM me at 7amkickoff at gmail dot com and I’ll buy the first round.

    As for “Huh” and his claim of playing and managing “Garratt Rovers” that’s pretty much the funniest thing I’ve read all day, cheers!

    • Huh

      September 4, 2009 at 8:52 am

      Never the less true though more than you and Mr Barclay put together!

      • Tim

        September 4, 2009 at 11:40 am

        No, I played for Doyle’s FC, which is a pub team. “Garratt Rovers” as far as I can tell is a cub scout team.

        • Huh

          September 5, 2009 at 1:19 pm

          No they were a Manchester amateur league team as is East Manchester. Droyslden and Hyde Utd are both and were at the time semi professional teams that currently play in the Blue Sq North Conference league.

  4. The Gaffer

    September 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    What’s amazing about the incident involving Wayne Rooney and Manuel Almunia is the number of people who strongly believe who dived — and the number of people who strongly believe he didn’t dive. And this is after all of the slow-motion replays we’ve watched online and on television, as well as the number of debates we’ve had about it (on EPL Talk alone, we’ve had 3-4 articles that have mentioned the topic).

    Now, in the heat of the game, how the hell is the referee supposed to make a correct decision right then and there if we can’t get it right ourselves?

    The Gaffer

  5. Arya

    September 3, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    The Chelsea ban is a bit harsh in my opinion. how many times has this happened before? Yes, there are the examples of FC Sion and Roma, but how many other times has this action gone unpunished. as a Chelsea fan i see this as a harsh punishment, but if it is in the letter of the law, which it appears to be, then i don’t see what FIFA has done wrong other than following the laws laid forth.

    As for the Eduardo “dive,” with the speed of play, and the angle of the referee, the ref was within his right to issue a penalty kick because from his position, which he was not out of his proper position, it appears as though Boruc has made contact with Eduardo. Wenger says there was contact, Boruc says there wasn’t. This should not be the issue. I see the issue as the punishment not being equal to the crime. If in fact the referee had seen a dive, then Eduardo would have suffered a yellow card and a free kick to Celtic. Banning a player for 2 games for diving is extreme; if caught at the time of perpetration, it would have been a simple warning. Yes diving must be cut out, but either you change the punishment on the field to a red card, or you issue a yellow card after the match. If the referee does see a dive, but decides not to see it, because he favors the 2 match ban, there would be hell to pay for that referee. All we should ask for as fans of the game, is consistency from the governing bodies.

  6. randomsausage

    September 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Quite amusing seeing the Little-Englander mentality raising its head again…..always assuming the dastardly Eurocrats have it in for them. Aye, the world was so much simpler when you had an empire etc etc…..

    • Huh

      September 3, 2009 at 5:05 pm

      And I though it was the Americans who where paraniod about Europe. Go figure

      • Shakira Graham

        September 3, 2009 at 6:18 pm

        How do you figure that one? Paranoid of Europe…hardly.

  7. Shakira Graham

    September 3, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    One thing to consider, since when has UEFA ever been consistent on anything?

  8. Pompey Canuck

    September 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    As Gaelen pointed out earlier the Chelsea thing isn’t without precedent. It also will have almost no effect on a club like Chelsea. FC Sion has appealed against the same charge and while the appeal is underway they are not subjected to the transfer ban. So Chelsea will appeal, and they will be able to bring in new players in January. When Roma appealed their ban was reduced to one transfer window, I imagine the same thing will happen to Chelsea. So Chelsea will use the appeal time to bring in a lot of players in January so they are not going really feel any pain from the transfer ban.

  9. Tim

    September 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    This article started out so promising, but then turned into the usual EPL talk drivel: lacking any coherent argument, missing any logic, and full of factual errors.

    For example, you’re so assured in your notion that “Eduardo dove” and yet that notion is being disputed by people who have far more footballing intelligence than you. Patrick Barclay, the Chief Football commentator for the Times online refutes the notion that Eduardo dived.

    Did Eduardo dive? Prove it. Prove that him jumping out of the way of the keeper was done not because of a natural instinct to escape the onrushing Boruc but because he intended to deceive. Prove that Eduardo wasn’t touched by Boruc, Patrick Barclay has seen video evidence that shows Boruc touching him and so has Arsene Wenger.

    Prove it or stop saying it.

    You make it out that Eduardo’s “dive” was somehow of the same caliber of Rivaldo’s face grabbing antics in WC 2002 or Dida’s head grabbing antics against Celtic in the Champions League.

    Those were dives, Eduardo won a penalty. Deal with it.

    • Huh

      September 3, 2009 at 4:27 pm

      I’d say UEFA’s professionals know more than Patrick Barclay (WHO DID HE PLAY FOR? OR REF FOR?)the Chief Football commentator for the Times online and if he is saying it wasn’t a dive so doe’s my 5 year old son!!!

      • Tim

        September 3, 2009 at 4:31 pm

        No, UEFA have a vested interest in this, as was pointed out by the Gaffer among others. They can’t very well open a case against Eduardo and then be like, OOPS, OUR BAD!

        Patrick Barclay is one of the most respected football journalists in England, having written about football for over 35 years for every major newspaper in England.

        Who did you play for?

        • Huh

          September 3, 2009 at 4:41 pm

          Garratt Rovers, East Manchester, Droyslden F.C and Hyde Utd. Also managed Garratt Rovers from 94′ to 2000, in England What about you???????????? Thought so LOL.

          • The Gaffer

            September 3, 2009 at 7:06 pm

            Hi Tim, contact me if you’re interested in writing for EPL Talk and if you think you can do a better job.

            The Gaffer

    • Adam Mikhail

      September 3, 2009 at 4:41 pm

      For someone so desperate for a “coherent argument,” I would have thought you could make a better argument than to say, “Prove it.” That seems childish and quite primitive.

      I’m surprised you could actually find one person who didn’t say it was a dive. It seems like you’re assuming because he is writing for The Times, his opinion is more legitimate than anyone else. This is a blog that is based on opinions and this one isn’t controversial, it’s the populist opinion.

      One thing I don’t understand. In order for Eduardo to have been, “jumping out of the way,” wouldn’t his feet have to leave the ground, not dribble on the turf? I can prove to you that Eduardo didn’t “jump,” can you prove that he didn’t dive if he didn’t jump?

      Now maybe you’ll see the flaw in your, “Prove it” argument.

      • Huh

        September 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm

        If you fall to the floor the first thing you do is put hands out to protect yourself. What did Eduardo do? Answer he flung them backwards, case closed me thinks.

  10. PAWRUSH big chels fan

    September 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    whatever has happened to Chelsea is obviously very very harsh, and especially as a CHELS fan i hate to admit that puts us in contention to drop out of the top 4 next season and possibly even this season(with the african cup of nations taking 4 first teamers away in january)

    but as far as chelsea being singled out, thats not the case. as per FIFA’s own rulebook in their regulations for the Status and Transfer Of Players, paragraphs three and four of Article 17 state: “It shall be presumed, unless established to the contrary, that any club signing a professional who has terminated his contract without just cause has induced that professional to commit a breach. The club shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for two registration periods.”

    And there’s another consideration that should trouble Chelsea. In April, Swiss club Sion were also banned from signing any new players for two windows and immediately launched an appeal. CAS duly froze their punishment ahead of a verdict that has still yet to be delivered. If that months-long timescale is repeated with the Chelsea case then it’s likely that any one-window punishment would have to be served next summer rather than in January. Given that it is notoriously difficult to sign players in January compared to the summer, any such belated reduction would be of meager relief to the Londoners.

    Chelsea will be encouraged by the precedent set in 2005 when, after Roma were banned from signing any players in two windows, the Court of Arbitration for Sport later halved the punishment.

  11. Kas

    September 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    The ban on Chelsea is quite ridiculous.

    I’d be surprised if the assumption of guilt without evidence were allowed to go unchallenged as it goes completely against the principles of democracy. To enforce a restraint of trade on a business on the assumption of guilt and as a knock-on effect to possibly restrict the potential of staff already at the club to achieve whilst also denying others the opportunity to work at the club of their choice is a massive undertaking and one which I would assume to be against European law. Bosman beat them, and I’m very confident that a couple of huffs and puffs and this decision will be mutated into something wholly less offensive.

  12. Gaelen

    September 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    The Chelsea ban isn’t unprecedented. Both Roma and FC Sion in Switzerland have had similar bans for the exact same infractions. Roma appealed to get it down to 1 transfer window while Sion are still appealing theirs.

    As for diving there is some precedence but still very inconsistent. I believe a Latvian player was suspended for 2 games for doing the same thing as Eduardo. Also Dida was suspended for 2 games (eventually reduced to 1 I think) for feigning injury (or more exaggerating as he was slapped in the face) from a fan on the pitch at parkhead. That being said there are many circumstances that have gone unpunished.

    Another interesting circumstance was that I believe Gilardino was suspended 2 games by Italy’s federation for intentionally using his hand to score based on video evidence, which to my surprise didn’t have much of an uproar.

    • Tim

      September 3, 2009 at 4:09 pm

      Lithuanian player, it was not the same, I’ve seen video and Mikioulinas was not touched by the defender and there’s a huge difference between a defender sticking his leg out and a goal keeper sliding at a player full speed.

      As for Dida, the fact that you’d put the Dida playacting in the same category as Eduardo shows that you pretty much no nothing about football.

      • Gaelen

        September 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm


        I treat Dida and Eduardo as the same thing as in both the ref didn’t see at the time that are only ‘corrected’ based on video evidence. I haven’t seen the video of the Lithuanian player but from your description going down without being touched no matter how the defender/goalie is trying to tackle you is the same thing in my book, unless your point is about there was contact in Eduardo’s case and the Lithuanian was like Eboue in the Man Utd-Arsenal game.

        • Tim

          September 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm

          There was contact, end of.

          And there is a major difference between Eboue’s dive where he anticipated contact and went down (and got the proper punishment, a Yellow card) and Dida’s being taken off the pitch as he pretended that the Scottish fan hit him.

          I would think that a rational person would see those two things as vastly different. But clearly, the sin of “diving” is so evil that reason must be set aside and the sport’s “integrity” protected at all costs.


          • Sudonihm

            September 4, 2009 at 11:57 am

            Wait, you’re saying there was contact on Eduardo? Video evidence proves otherwise.

  13. The Gaffer

    September 3, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Makes you wonder if UEFA is purposefully trying to pick on the English teams to reduce their power in Europe. Certainly seems that way.

    The Gaffer

  14. randomsausage

    September 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    The UEFA mandarins will back down on this — especially the Chelsea decision, which is quite fantastic. Maybe Chelsea could actually, you know, promote someone from the youth team — radical thinking I know but some other clubs do it!!!

    Anyways — all the baleful Kenyon has to do… to issue a press release saying the G14 or some such are looking to form a breakaway league…. and UEFA will cave.

  15. Adam Mikhail

    September 3, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    It’s funny. The article I wrote yesterday mentioned the governing bodies(particularly UEFA) lack of equality among all the leagues. Who knew when I woke up this morning that I’d have the perfect example of this inequality. If every club was banned two years for tapping up, we’d never see another transfer. Tapping up should at most be punished with a financial penalty.

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