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UEFA Diving Decision Sets a Dangerous Precedent

By September 7, 2009

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UEFA has started down a slippery slope. And it isn’t so much because they banned Eduardo for two games for diving — which is ridiculous in itself — but because that decision overturned the referee’s decision by making use of video replays even as UEFA staunchly rejects the idea of incorporating it in games.

It started during Arsenal’s match against Celtic in the preliminary round of the Champions League two weeks ago. Playing at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal striker Eduardo broke free from the defense and ran onto a ball played into the penalty area. Artur Boruc dove out to meet him. Eduardo went tumbling. And the referee awarded a penalty kick.

But a look at the instant replay showed that it was not quite so simple. Boruc never appeared to make actual contact with Eduardo — nor did he make contact with the ball. Still, Eduardo seemed to drag his feet and go over rather easily. By popular estimation, it was (gasp) a dive.

Well, ladies and gentlemen of UEFA, it happens. It happens in every match and it happens several times a match. Shockingly, this is not the first time someone has deliberately conned a referee. And it wasn’t even the most egregious dive perpetrated against Celtic — Gilardino would have that title.

But the decision sets a dangerous precedent, as Arsene Wenger insisted in his appeal, because it seriously undermines the authority of the referee within the context of the match. The question is, where does it stop now? The solution, funnily enough, is one that Wenger has championed for years: find a framework to subtly and parsimoniously include instant replays.

UEFA, however, is convinced otherwise.

Comments

September 7, 2009 at 9:01 pm
(1) The flying forward says:

Well, something has to be done about this diving. I am fed up with games ruined because the ref got taken in and awarded a penalty. The Portugese, Italians and Argentinians are the worse, so FIFA should keep an eye on them ,and yes, let’s have instant replays, with red cards for diving.

September 15, 2009 at 7:08 am
(2) Geoff says:

Absolutely agree. Nothing at all wrong with this decision except for the timing.

it is years late and i am thoroughly sick of hearing that a penalty was awarded due to a striker “cleverly” inviting a keeper or defender close enough to simply go down without contact.

Cheating. Simply cheating.

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