By Graham McNorthbank
UEFA extracted themselves from a very sticky position today when the appeals commission turned around the decision to ban Eduardo for two games following an appeal by Arsenal Football Club.
Just in case you've been living on the moon, Dudu was given a two-match ban after allegedly diving to win a penalty for the Gunners in our win over Celtic last month. UEFA used video evidence to ban our Crozilian for deliberately deceiving the referee.
However in an appeal today UEFA performed a dramatic u-turn, stating "The UEFA Appeals Body today accepted the appeal lodged by Arsenal FC against the two-match suspension handed to striker Eduardo.
“Following examination of all the evidence, notably the declarations of both the referee and the referees' assessor, as well as the various video footage, it was not established to the panel's satisfaction that the referee had been deceived in taking his decision on the penalty.
“Therefore, the decision of the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body of 1 September, in which the player was suspended for two UEFA club competition matches, is annulled.”
All that lifts the shadow hanging over Eduardo, plus it exonerates him as a cheat, clearly delighting the player himself, who says, "I’m very pleased that we have finally arrived at the truth. All we needed to do was to prove what happened and we have managed to do that. This decision makes me feel a lot better.
"Now I just want to forget about this and think about our match against Standard Liege on Wednesday. I was always prepared for the match in Belgium because I had good feeling and I always remained positive about the outcome. Now we have a final result, I can now look forward to helping the team on Wednesday night.
“I just want to say that I’m a fair player. To score goals you must take your opportunities and I’m not the type of player who needs to be dishonest to score goals.”
For its part Arsenal released this statement, "We are grateful that the Appeals Body focused on the evidence and made the right decision in this case. We were able to show that there was contact between the goalkeeper and Eduardo and that the decision of the UEFA Disciplinary body should be annulled.
"We are glad to put this incident behind us and concentrate on the games ahead."
Anyone care to bet against Dudu scoring on Wednesday night?