Arsenal will analyse the reasoning behind UEFA’s decision to hand striker Eduardo a two-match European ban for diving to win a penalty against Celtic in a Champions League qualifier before deciding on their next course of action.
European football’s governing body opened disciplinary proceedings against the Croatia international for “deceiving the referee” when he went down in the penalty box at Emirates Stadium last week despite there appearing to be no contact with Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
Referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez awarded the spot-kick, which Eduardo converted himself to set Arsenal on their way to a comprehensive 3-1 win and into the lucrative group stages.
Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith was quick to call for action against the Croatian international, set to face England in their World Cup qualifier at Wembley next week.
UEFA subsequently began an investigation, which Gunners boss Arsene Wenger lambasted as a “witch-hunt”.
Arsenal are understood to have made a 19-page submission to UEFA ahead of the hearing, which clearly made little impact on the panel.
Eduardo, who has just recovered full match fitness following a year out with a broken leg, did not appeal for a foul on the night, and UEFA have failed to rule on countless controversial incidents under their jurisdiction, with the Gunners themselves aggrieved following what was a dubious yet vital penalty awarded to Liverpool’s Ryan Babel in the Champions League quarter-final two seasons ago.
The Barclays Premier League club now have three days to lodge an appeal against the suspension which, if upheld, would rule Eduardo out of the Champions League group matches away at Standard Liege on September 16 and the home match with Olympiacos on September 29.
“The club is disappointed with UEFA’s decision to suspend Eduardo for two Champions League matches starting with Standard Liege on September 16,” a statement from Arsenal read.
“We have been informed that we will receive a ’reasoned decision’ from UEFA by Thursday of this week.
“Once we receive UEFA’s rationale, we will make a decision on the next steps.”
The statement continued: “We have been deeply frustrated by the perfunctory and apparently arbitrary process that UEFA has followed in this instance.
“We believe it is imperative that UEFA’s explanation for its decision provides clear and comprehensive standards that will be consistently enforced.
“It is also critical that UEFA provides specific details of the processes it plans to adopt in reviewing all games under its jurisdiction.”
Whatever the outcome, Wenger will have been left less than impressed by the whole saga.
“I find it a complete disgrace and unacceptable,” the French coach said after learning Eduardo had been charged.
“We won’t accept the way we have been treated in this case for two reasons.
“I believe that you can debate whether it was a penalty or not. For me it’s a witch-hunt that we see and not an objective judgement of a case.
“This charge implies there was intent and a desire to cheat the referee.
“Having watched the pictures again there was nothing conclusive.
“It singles out a player in Europe to be a cheat and that is not acceptable.
“UEFA has taken action that is not defendable.”