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Questioning Arsenal’s appeal is one thing…knowing the facts is quite another

Football FanCast columnist Kris Wilcox explains exactly why Arsenal are appealing against Eduardo's two game European ban and considers why Stan Collymore should refrain from writing about issues he doesn't fully understand.

There's no two ways about it – Stan Collymore must be the most stupid man to have ever written about football. I mean, through time, there have been some pretty pathetic football writers. Most of them end up, like Collymore, writing for some form of tabloid like the Daily Mirror. Yet recently with the evolution of blogs, forums and other areas like BBC's online 606 we often come across people posting the most ridiculous statements purely because they can. From an Arsenal point of view we get those who can justify calling Wenger a paedophile, those who would jump at the chance of getting Usmanov in charge of our club and those that would, without a moment's hesitation, sack Wenger and half the playing squad. Yet, Stan Collymore is just as bad as all of these people. And he gets paid for it.

Stan Collymore's latest statement:

‘Arsenal should take the punishment on the chin because I want to see diving stamped out.'

Err, thanks for that Stan. We shouldn't appeal against the ban because you, Stan Collymore, widely regarded as one of the worst players to have ever broken the British record transfer fee, believes we shouldn't. Let me just, for any football fan and even Stan himself, who doesn't understand why Arsenal are appealing against this ban, explain the situation.

Firstly, Arsenal understands that Eduardo probably dived. Youtube videos, such as this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhQF9h4x4Lw, have attempted to prove Eduardo's innocence. I've watched it a hundred times and the video (hardly conclusively) shows there might have been a bit of contact. It does not, however, show that Eduardo was innocent. He dived, anticipating contact from the goalkeeper's arms, which he did not get.

Our strongly worded statement posted on the official website showed where the club has problems with the case:

‘There are obvious errors and inconsistencies in Uefa's judgment and we intend to appeal.'

Here Arsenal are essentially pointing out three key aspects of the case. Firstly the error – how is it that Uefa can prove that Eduardo has deliberately deceived the referee? Remember, Eduardo is not being charged for diving, he is being charged using a clause used to ban future Rivaldo's for that ridiculous clutching of his face at the 2002 world cup. Secondly the two inconsistencies – Why is it that Eduardo is the first player Uefa has banned for diving using this clause? And why is it that a punishment that normally merits a yellow card has received a two game ban?

Stan Collymore, and many others, in their attempts to condemn diving have completely overlooked these three points. What Arsenal are, in actual fact, saying to Uefa is that if you're going to ban Eduardo then you should be banning every other player that dives in a European competition. Something that, for the strong stance Stan Collymore has taken, he has failed to look at in detail.

If it was the case that Uefa were going to ban every other player that was caught diving (or, indeed, guilty of deceiving the referee) why is it that Ashley Young, who the day after Eduardo's incident, visibly dived against Rapid Vienna (in the Europa League, a Uefa competition they have full power over), has had no charges brought against him? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BWRDOjfz9c)

The answer is simple, Uefa, at this moment in time, have no plans to extend Eduardo's punishment to any other player. It would be difficult, expensive and time-consuming for every Uefa game to be monitored and appeals made based on video evidence. They want one example, and one example only to be used as a disincentive. Stan Collymore might think that's great, anyone else must surely consider it deeply unfair on the one example – Eduardo, both as a player and a person. As a player he will miss two games. As a person he stands as the only player to have officially been branded as a diver.

Therefore in posing these three errors and inconsistencies to Uefa as part of an appeal Arsenal are asking them to fully explain the situation. It is likely; in fact it is almost certain, that Uefa will simply ignore Arsenal's appeal and use the ‘deceiving the referee' article to ban Eduardo. However, in asking Uefa to prove how diving is wrong, to show how diving is worth more than a yellow card, to apply the same criteria to every case, Arsenal are asking Uefa to create the required legislation to ban every player that is guilty of diving in European football.

Now Stan Collymore, would you please again explain why it is that Arsenal appealing against Eduardo's ban is so deeply wrong?

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Article title: Questioning Arsenal’s appeal is one thing…knowing the facts is quite another

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