Arsenal fury at Eduardo suspension

Club attack 'arbitrary' Uefa decision after striker is given two-match ban for diving
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The Independent Football

Arsenal are furious that Uefa's disciplinary commission took just 50 minutes yesterday to find Eduardo da Silva guilty of "deceiving the referee" despite the club having submitted a 19-page dossier and supporting video evidence for them to examine.

The striker was banned for two Champions League matches for his dive in a qualifying tie against Celtic last week after an extensive legal defence from his club that demonstrated that the governing body were breaking their own rules by charging him. Arsenal, who said that they were "deeply frustrated" by Uefa's conduct, believe that the body have abandoned due process in dealing with the Brazilian-born Croatia striker.

Arsenal have protested since the charge on Friday was announced that Uefa have pursued Eduardo in an ad hoc fashion. Yesterday's events did nothing to change their mind. The disciplinary body's verdict was reached so quickly yesterday that Uefa have told Arsenal that they will not be able to furnish them with the "reasoned decision" until tomorrow. From then the club will have three days to appeal.

All Uefa sent the club yesterday was a single paragraph of text that read: "Having examined all the documents of the case which the player charged had likewise examined the control and disciplinary body decides that the player Eduardo is suspended for two Uefa club competition matches."

In a statement yesterday Arsenal described Uefa's process as "perfunctory and apparently arbitrary". It read: "We believe it is imperative that Uefa's explanation for its decision provides clear and comprehensive standards that will be consistently enforced. It is also critical that Uefa provides specific details of the processes it plans to adopt in reviewing all games under its jurisdiction."

In contrast to Arsenal's submission, Uefa have provided no detail in charging Eduardo under a little-known regulation that has only been activated once before since its introduction in 2006. Under Uefa's own laws they had to prove materially that Eduardo intended to deceive the referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez. This has not been done.

The decision was made by three Uefa delegates: Thomas Partl (Germany), Maurizio Laudi (Italy) and Emilio Garcia Silvero (Spain), who went into their meeting at 4.30pm, central European time. Arsenal received a faxed copy of the verdict 55 minutes later suggesting that the three did not consider the video and submission thoroughly.

Uefa's handling of the situation has become a standing joke at Arsenal who noted that earlier important correspondence from the governing body was sent to the fax machine used by Arsenal ladies' team rather than the club's administrative department.

Eduardo, who will face England next Wednesday for Croatia, has been banned for the group stage matches against Standard Liège (away) and Olympiakos (home). The club will wait until they receive the full Uefa decision before they decide whether or not to appeal.

Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, has been charged with improper conduct following comments made after the club's opening-weekend Premier League defeat to Tottenham, the Football Association have confirmed. Benitez was furious at Phil Dowd's refusal to award a late penalty for what he perceived to be a foul on Andriy Voronin by Benoît Assou-Ekotto in a game his side lost 2-1.

Axel Witsel of Standard Liège has appealed after he was banned until the end of November for the tackle which broke Anderlecht defender Marcin Wasilewski's leg at the weekend.

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