UEFA has rescinded Eduardo’s two match diving ban, clearing him Arsenal’s first group stage match against Standard Liege.
Eduardo sparked the controversy against Celtic during qualification, falling before anticipated contact from Celtic keeper Artur Boruc. The contact never came, but the referee awarded Arsenal a penalty.
UEFA’s decision was correct.
Eduardo anticipated the situation incorrectly. He made a mistake. We should distinguish between that and a lame attempt to deceive the referee.
Had he been caught by the referee, Eduardo would have received a yellow-card for simulation, not a two-match ban. UEFA was not punishing him for the crime, but for the effect it had.
The precedent would be ludicrous as well. Diving, however odious, is ever-present. Two-match bans for each instance would be ubiquitous. Players would still dive, and there would be far fewer great ones to watch.
Diving is natural. It won’t be eradicated by no-nonsense enforcement. The solution should allow referees to decide correctly. That may mean extra officials on the goal-line.