Wenger angry over Eduardo charge
Eduardo charge is a ‘disgrace’ – Wenger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has accused Uefa of conducting a “witch-hunt” after it charged Eduardo with diving in the Champions League clash with Celtic.
Striker Eduardo appeared to dive to win a penalty last Wednesday and Uefa could ban him for up to two games when its disciplinary body meets on 1 September.
“I find it a complete disgrace and unacceptable,” said Wenger.
“It singles out a player to be a cheat and that is not acceptable. We will not accept the way Uefa has treated this.”
If Eduardo is suspended he would miss Standard Liege away on 16 September and the home match with Olympiacos on 29 September.
And Wenger added: “I believe you can debate whether it is a penalty or not. But this charge implies there was intent and a desire to cheat the referee. Having seen again the pictures again, nothing is conclusive.
“It’s a witch-hunt that we see and not an objective judgement of a case.”
Wenger said the Croat may have taken evasive action in light of the career-threatening broken leg he sustained two seasons ago.
And the Frenchman added that European football’s governing body would have difficulty proving the 26-year-old intended to deceive the referee.
“We will defend our player as far as we can because he is not being treated fairly,” said Wenger.
“It’s funny in football because you can break the legs of players and it doesn’t make a debate for anybody.
“I’m the first to say that it doesn’t look like a penalty but it’s another thing to say that he went down with intent. I wish good luck in proving that having seen the pictures again.”
In charging Eduardo, Wenger claimed Uefa had set off down a dangerous path whereby any decision made by an official can be contested after the match.
He said: “There is completely lack of logic in this case. Why? Because people have reacted emotionally.
Eduardo wins a penalty after going down in the penalty area
“This case has been ruled by the media and emotionally by Scotland, by the Scottish FA and by Scottish people working at Uefa.
“I’ve fought my whole life against cheating and I’ve seen some obvious cases where Uefa didn’t intervene. On and off the pitch things have happened where no action was taken.
“But now the existing rules of football have been changed just for one case so we will from now on challenge every single decision that is made in Europe by the referees.
“This is the first time since I’ve been in football that the judgement made by the referee is not accepted by the football bodies.”
There appeared to be no contact between Eduardo and Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc but referee Manuel Gonzalez still gave a penalty midway through the first half.
After Eduardo converted the resulting spot kick, the Gunners went on to win 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium. They won 5-1 on aggregate to secure a spot in the group stages.
Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith has called for the Brazil-born Eduardo to be banned.
“Eduardo showed disrespect to the game by his actions,” he said.
“We have shown courage to use retrospective punishment when it comes to simulation. I’d urge Uefa to do so.”
Uefa president Michel Platini believes additional assistant referees behind each goal line would combat diving.
He said: “One day players will give up simulating because refs will see them. I am convinced that you have referees nearby, then you will stop this.”
Celtic had travelled to the Emirates 2-0 down from the first leg in Glasgow, when Arsenal had been the better side but had scored with a deflection and an own goal.
The first goal in London, then, was likely to be crucial and Boruc was incensed when Gonzalez pointed to the spot.
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And Boruc’s team-mate Danny Fox congratulated Uefa for taking action against Eduardo and said he would welcome a ban for the Gunners player.
“It shows that it doesn’t matter who you play for and who you are, if you are going to bring the rules into disrepute you should be made an example of, and fair play to Uefa for doing that,” said the Celtic defender.
“You can’t do anything about the game but I think a ban to make an example of him would stop other players doing it. No-one likes to be done by cheating.
“If you ask any of the Arsenal players honestly, they will way it wasn’t a penalty either.”