Arbitratry and pre-judged: Eduardo had no chance

Gerhard Kapl.jpg
Gerhard Kapl(at right): A fire and brimstone kind of chief
Time to dust off those videos and mete out retrospective punishment to those who deceive referees.
What, its not going to happen?
Only Eduardo gets to be the poster boy. Eighteen months ago he was the poster boy for tackles gone horribly wrong. What has he done to deserve these honours?
Arsenal awaits UEFA’s “reasoned decision” on Thursday and then have three days to present their appeal.
How ridiculous does this sound? A referee who stands by his decision is basically told he was being fooled by the player. Manuel Gonzalez the referee defended his decision, in his eyes he was not conned into awarding the penalty. I think in this case, it is not just Arsenal that should feel outraged but so too referees. I want to see self aggrandizing Graham Poll take a stand just like he did with Tom Ovrebo in the Barca vs Chelsea CL semi-final.
UEFA took less than an hour to consider Eduardo’s case and basically reiterated that divers would only get booked. They had already pre-judged the case. So Eduardo gets stuck with a two match ban because in their eyes, he got away with a deception. The message clearly is become a better diver, not that diving is inherently damaging to the game.
Gerhard Kapl, UEFA’s chief of discipline also framed Eduardo’s conduct as “gross unsporting behaviour”. His Pilate like absolutism: “in this case, there are no exceptional circumstances that would justify a plea for mercy”. Even Ted Bundy was given that chance.
First rule: If Eduardo has to be the fall guy, can we stop with the labels. Unlike some players, he does not have a record of deliberately fooling referees. These words also have an inflammatory resonance beyond just club football. The Croatians are feeling mighty aggrieved.
Second rule: Lets reconcile the rule. If a deception is detected retroactively, why should the punishment be different? The thought of carrying over a booking should be enough of a deterrent.
Kapl has some history as the official defending the referee’s decision as correct when Van Nistelrooy was controversially declared on-side after he scored a goal in the Euro 2008 match between the Netherlands and Italy while Christian Panucci went out the sideline with an injury.
The interesting thing is three years ago, Kapl was the only one who disagreed with UEFA’s decision not to punish Rangers for anti-Catholic chants. He called it “discriminatory abuse” and wanted a £25,000 fine levied and a stadium stand closed down. As the chief of discipline he is perfectly comfortable flinging around these labels. It also makes him, shall we say, a bit arbitrary?

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3 comments on “Arbitratry and pre-judged: Eduardo had no chance
  1. It seems to be pretty much a standard ban. Dida, the AC Milan goalkeeper who pretended to get punched by a Celtic fan two years ago, also got a two match ban for diving.
    I realize for Arsenal it seems tough when almost every team has players who will dive on some occasion and don’t get penalized for it, but if we ever expect to eliminate diving, we have to start somewhere.

  2. Andrew, not quite sure whether this will eliminate diving. I think it makes for a better class of cheaters, those who perfect the art of diving without detection. I remember your earlier post about the possible elimination of penalties, maybe awarding infractions such as this with direct free kicks. The idea is to render deception useless and without video review, I don’t see that happening. But it should not be retrospective, the referee should be given that control. To take the analogy further, is the death penalty a deterrent to serious crime?

  3. I don’t think anything will ever stop diving. We can only hope to lessen it, but even that is unlikely.
    As morally superior the English love to pretend they are, diving is present in the Premiership with English players just as much as it is with foreign players. Steven Gerrard is a serial diver. Even as a United fan, I can admit that Rooney, while I wouldn’t brand him as a diver, goes down far too easily from time to time. These things go unnoticed and unmentioned in the media.
    I mean, hell, diving has been commonplace in Europe since the 50’s or 60’s, starting with the Italians notoriously, and eventually encompassing pretty much every footballing nation. The film, “The Damned United” targets Leeds United and specifically Billy Brenner for being divers even back then, although many English people are deluded in believing that diving is a new thing on their shores.
    Although I think Eduardo’s punishment was fair, you are right to raise points about the xenophobia present in England. I mean, in a better world, Steven Gerrard would get as much flack as Drogba and Eduardo.

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