Ferguson: Eduardo ban will send message

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson claims Eduardo’s two-match European ban for diving will have got the “message across”.

The Gunners are to appeal against UEFA’s decision, which the Premier League club feel has “obvious errors” and was a “deeply flawed” ruling.

European football’s governing body opened disciplinary proceedings against the Croatia international for “deceiving the referee” when he went down in the penalty box during last week’s Champions League qualifier against Celtic at Emirates Stadium, 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.

However, Scottish Football Association 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” and resulted in the decision to ban Eduardo for two matches.

Wales manager John Toshack today hit out at the suspension, maintaining “a very dangerous precedent has been created”.

Ferguson, though, believes the whole saga may actually help clamp down on the controversy of simulation.

“Quite rightly something should be done. You hope that message gets across,” said Ferguson, speaking to the media following a UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum in Nyon, Switzerland.

Ferguson, though, believes Wenger is right to defend Eduardo, who has just come back from a year out with a broken leg.

“I wouldn’t say it publicly but I wouldn’t be pleased if it was my player who did that,” the United manager added. When you make a public criticism of your players you are in danger of losing the morale of the dressing room.

“Your job is to protect the dressing room and keep it solid. You become insular and protective of your own players in your team. We’re all selfish that way.”

However, Ferguson feels education is the way forward to eliminate the concept of diving from the game.

“Not one coach is proud of the fact that they have players who simulate to get decisions,” the Scot added. Coaches can’t be proud if they have won the game that way. I certainly wouldn’t be.

“We all agreed that education is the best way forward, from youth teams through to first team players. We all have a responsibility, particularly the players of today, on how it impacts on young people.”

Should the ban be upheld, Eduardo would be forced to miss the opening two Champions League group matches, away at Standard Liege on September 16 and the home encounter with Olympiacos on September 29.

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