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Reversal Of Eduardo’s Ban Raises More Questions

eduardo struck by secret sniper

After what sounds like an absolutely epic appeal by Arsenal worthy of a Hague courtroom, UEFA has overturned Eduardo’s two-match ban for diving. How you feel about the decision likely has a lot to do with your thoughts on whether such punishments are truly effective deterrents to such nefarious acts. UEFA’s decision may also be seen as a victory of sorts for those against the increasing use of video replay to correct decisions made in the heat of the moment on the pitch.

Short of radical changes such as of the use of a hockey-style “sin-bin,” or the use of in-game video replay, it seems doubtful that diving can be removed from the game by any meaningful degree. Under the current rules, do we really think that the vague threat of a possible future match ban affects the in-game thinking of a player? Or that the risk of a yellow deters players when the reward could be a penalty or a free kick from a juicy angle?

More importantly, is diving a truly serious threat to the game or do such acts occur so infrequently as to not require change or increased enforcement? My uneducated guess, backed up by absolutely no empirical data, is that dives are rare. It is only because making the call is so subjective that the issue creates such controversy. Those who play the sport know full well that sometimes the slightest challenge, or hint of a challenge, made while you’re bursting at full speed, particularly if you’re knackered, can cause a tumble to the unforgiving earth. Sometimes all it takes is a moment’s loss of concentration to tangle up the toes.

For such reasons, I don’t think radical rule changes or heavy-handed punishments hung on hindsight are required. However, I am in that group of people who thinks that the addition of an additional assistant referee behind each goal will go a long way to make sure that any and all infractions in the penalty area are correctly called. Besides, everybody knows that Eduardo was struck by an invisible bullet fired by an invisible sniper lodged in high in the nether regions of the Emirates.

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  1. AJ

    September 16, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Video replay is a good thing in general I know it’s not practical to replay something like a dive then send the player off a few minutes later. I saw the new rugby on Spike TV and they had a video replay that litterally took 10 seconds. It wouldn’t be too much for a 3 guys to sit and watch it after the match is over. AND NO APPEALS!

  2. coachie ballgames

    September 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Referee’s calls are subjuective, but I do think having an additional assistant behind each goal will help because the action is so fast and the penalty area usually so crowded that the job of policing the area is beyond the skills of one man who has been huffing and puffing it up the pitch end-to-end.

  3. Huh

    September 15, 2009 at 11:59 am

    The reality is that if they (Uefa & FA etc) don’t want to use video replays, then why do they keep using them when they feel like it! You ether use this tecnology or u don’t not whenever you feel like it, when it suits you!!

  4. AtlantaPompey

    September 15, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I’m not the least bit surprised that his two-match ban was overturned. UEFA was not going to hurt one of the big teams in such a big tournament, albeit really early in the group stage. Diving, and other unsportsmanlike behaviors, will continue as long as UEFA and FIFA allow it to, which will be indefinitely. They don’t want to hurt teams by taking away important players.

    Referee’s decisions are so subjective, it’s very difficult to say what would really improve the decision making process without radically altering something about the game.

    Video replay? I almost threw my remote at the television last weekend watching college football because they reviewed too much, which sent us to commercials, which is what I increasingly dislike about American football.

    A fifth official? It’s still subjective and therefore subject to controversy.

    My solution would be for the newspapers covering the match to call out those players who were deemed to have dived or committed something unsportsmanlike in an attempt to deceive the ref and gain an advantage. Do it loudly. Front page headlines. Supporters should not tolerate such behavior from their own players and can easily let them know that they find such behavior unacceptable when wearing their club’s shirt. Loud boos or the occasional witty song would get the point across. Of course, the newspapers covering the match don’t want to risk upsetting the club and therefore losing access to the match, players, or manager.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a solution. It’s just part of the game now.

  5. sucka99

    September 15, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Honestly, the entire charge/punishment/appeal processes in FIFA and UEFA (and the FA) are such a freaking joke. If you want to target people for certain behaviors you need to put a comprehensive plan in place, enforcable and reviewable by all levels using the same procedures and punishments.

    This haphazzard protest/charge system that doesn’t even ask the alleged violator to present his own case before being judged, is for lack of a better term, a giant cluster f*ck where basically you’re relying on aggrieved parties to lodge complaints that you MAY get to if your FA has enough pull. If you’re going to ban people for diving, have a clear and consistant policy, announce it, and have a group dedicated to rendering those judgements on a weekly basis after games. Not just when someone complains.

    And wrt the poaching issues, why aren’t UEFA involved in ALL contracts between associations? That would force UEFA to look into any contracts that may have still been in force. Same thing with FIFA between regions.

    When your discipline is inconsistant it always ALWAYS invites suspicion or politics and favoritism at play. Implement a comprehensive plan and stick to it.

  6. Cam

    September 15, 2009 at 6:27 am

    I think they should bring in a “match review panel” to help stamp out those who deliberately cheat. We have one for the AFL here in Australia and it works an absolute treat! With the game becoming much faster it is hard for the referees to catch everything that goes on so if someone dives, stomps on someone or there is even a dubious red card, those things can be over turned without having to go to the tribunal.

    I was having a chat (quite drunken one at that) with a friend who isn’t much of a Football fan due to the diving and rolling around of players, his idea was to bring in a 3rd card which is the same idea as a red card but the player can reutrn after say 5-10 minutes! I know Futsal (Indoor soccer) has a similar rule….maybe that would work?

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