Calls mount for Eduardo sanction

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The Independent Football

Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith today urged Uefa to punish Arsenal striker Eduardo for diving in the Champions League play-off round second leg against Celtic.

Eduardo won a penalty in the Gunners' 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium last night after appearing to throw himself to the ground in the area.

Smith wants Uefa to act retrospectively to punish the Croatia international, in the same way they dealt with Lithuania striker Saulius Mikoliunas, who cheated to earn a spot-kick against Scotland at Hampden Park in September 2007.

Video evidence was used to sanction Mikoliunas, who was banned for two matches.

The SFA recently applied that precedent to punish Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty, who feigned being headbutted by Aberdeen defender Charlie Mulgrew during a Clydesdale Bank Premier League game in May.

Smith said: "Eduardo is a terrific player who has battled back from a serious injury to resume playing at the highest level.

"However, last night he showed disrespect to the game by his actions in winning a penalty against Celtic.

"Since I came into this post, I have raised the issue of simulation time and time again - both here in Scotland and with FIFA and Uefa.

"I don't think that I have received enough support in my efforts to eradicate what I believe to be one of the most serious threats to the integrity of football. Last night showed exactly why we must take this issue seriously.

"We have shown the courage to use retrospective punishment when it comes to simulation and I would urge Uefa to do so in this instance. Everything that can be done to stamp it out must be done - starting right now.

"Last night's incident also brings the whole issue of video evidence to the fore.

"I see absolutely no reason at all why we cannot use technology to assist referees - particularly in live games.

"I know that some people say that TV evidence would damage the flow of a game, but I believe the proposal that I put forward to both FIFA and Uefa whereby football would adopt a similar approach to tennis in offering a set number of challenges can work.

"We need a serious debate on these issues. Everyone in football has a responsibility to set the right example to our youngsters.

"We can talk all we want about Fair Play campaigns, but taking action would be a much more powerful deterrent and would send the right message to players everywhere."

Celtic midfielder Massimo Donati also called for Eduardo to be banned.

"If it is clear on TV then UEFA must act against Eduardo and ban him," said Donati.

"I think he should get a two-match ban because it wasn't a penalty. I told him that and everyone in the Celtic team told him that."

Last night's game was still 0-0 at the time, though Arsenal held a 2-0 advantage from the first leg.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger acknowledged Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc did not bring down Eduardo in the penalty incident but claimed his forward was taking evasive action.

Celtic defender Glenn Loovens was in no doubt Eduardo had dived.

"I don't think he even speaks English so there was no point talking to him," Loovens added.

"It is very disappointing but that is football. It's sad it happened to us.

"I don't think it is really fair. But it helped his team take the lead.

"There is a referee and a linesman to see those kind of things."

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