Cascarino slams UEFA U-turn over Eduardo

Former Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino has slammed UEFA's decision to overturn Arsenal forward Eduardo's two match ban for diving, insisting it was obvious the Croatian deceived the referee.

The Brazilian-born goal-getter was set to miss the Gunners' opening two Champions League group stages games, having been reprimanded by European football's governing body for diving to win a spot-kick in the play-off second leg against Celtic at the Emirates Stadium.

However, following an appeal from Arsene Wenger's side, UEFA surprisingly opted to wipe out the suspension on Monday evening, leaving Eduardo free to participate against Standard Liege on Wednesday.

"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 the referee had been deceived in taking his decision on the penalty," said a UEFA statement.

"Therefore the decision of the UEFA control and disciplinary body of September 1, in which the player was suspended for two UEFA club competition matches, is annulled."

But New Football Pools' pundit Cascarino says UEFA should have upheld the ban against the striker, saying it was clear for all to see that the Croatian acted immorally.

“Did Eduardo da Silva dive to win a penalty? In the view of most observers, including me, he did,” he said in The Times.

“Did it have a huge impact on the match? Yes. And so he should be punished. It really is as simple as that.
Forget the outrage and the unexpectedness of UEFA’s action.

“If football’s authorities do not make it their business to stamp out cheating, they are not doing their duty. So it’s about time they acted.

“Arsène Wenger’s chief defence of Eduardo seems to be that he is a scapegoat. That may be true, but it doesn’t make him innocent.

"[Players] will only stop diving and trying to trick the referee if they think they will be caught and suffer a harsh punishment.”