Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Arsenal to mount Eduardo appeal

Arsenal are to appeal against what they call a "deeply flawed" decision by UEFA to hand striker Eduardo a two-match European ban for diving to win a penalty against Celtic in a Champions League qualifier.

European football's governing body opened disciplinary proceedings against the Croatia international for "deceiving the referee" when he went down in the box at Emirates Stadium last week despite there appearing to be no contact with Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

Referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez awarded the spot-kick, which Eduardo converted himself to set Arsenal on their way to a comprehensive 3-1 win which sealed their place in the tournament's lucrative group stages.

Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith was quick to call for action against Eduardo, who is set to face England in their World Cup qualifier at Wembley next week.

UEFA subsequently began an investigation, which Gunners boss Arsene Wenger lambasted as a "witch-hunt" and resulted in the decision to ban Eduardo for two matches.

However, Arsenal this afternoon issued a strongly-worded statement indicating their intention not to let the matter rest.

"The club is in receipt of UEFA's reasoned decision in relation to the charge against Eduardo," the statement read.

"We strongly believe that the decision taken is deeply flawed and not based on any forensic review of the video evidence available.

"There are obvious errors and inconsistencies in UEFA's judgment and we intend to appeal."

Arsenal are understood to have made a 19-page submission to UEFA ahead of the original hearing, which clearly made little impact on the panel, and following the announcement of Eduardo's ban, slammed the "arbitrary process" followed by the European governing body.

Indeed, manager Wenger declared UEFA had now opened a Pandora's Box, with every controversial decision under their jurisdiction now apparently possible for scrutiny despite not having acted on other high-profile incidents in the past.

Should the ban be upheld, Eduardo - who has finally returned to full match fitness following a year out with a broken leg - would be forced to miss the opening two Champions League group matches, away at Standard Liege on September 16 and the home encounter with Olympiacos on September 29.

Nearly all of the Arsenal squad are now away on international duty, with the next match another trip to Manchester on September 12, this time at Eastlands for a reunion with Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor.

The Gunners' London Colney base, however, has been utilised by the England squad ahead of their matches against Slovenia and the Croats.

Manager Fabio Capello has been impressed by the Arsenal academy set-up, which has produced youngster Jack Wilshere, the 17-year-old midfielder with an outside chance of making the World Cup squad.

Capello told www.fifa.com: "I'm very lucky, because I've had the opportunity to look at Arsenal's academy where the England team train and their work is incredibly good.

"It's a very important example for the other English academies.

"I'm very interested in the academies of the clubs in England, but they all seem to be working very well."

Capello added: "I'm very, very happy about the future of England and I think it will be better."