The disciplinary case by UEFA against Eduardo da Silva has been so shambolic that Arsenal fear the rules are being made up on the hoof by the governing body, who will today decide the fate of the player for his dive against Celtic in the Champions League last Wednesday.
The full picture of UEFA's ad hoc case emerged yesterday when it was learned that all European football's governing body offered up in evidence against Eduardo was one paragraph in a two and half-page fax in which they accuse him of an “obvious dive.” They did not send any accompanying video evidence to Arsenal.
In response, Arsenal's lawyers have hit UEFA with a 19-page submission and supporting videos of the incident between Eduardo and Artur Boruc which will be considered by the UEFA control and disciplinary body, who will decide whether he faces a two-match Champions League ban.
The club were shocked at the amateurism of the fax they received from UEFA, which was sent to the wrong part of the club, on Friday. There was no extra evidence from Spanish referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez, who has since stood by his decision to award the penalty.
The evidence against Eduardo was so brief and lacking in detail that the club are convinced that the charge was only dreamt up on Friday after UEFA president Michel Platini was quizzed on the incident by journalists at the Champions League draw in Monaco.
Arsenal have accused UEFA of charging Eduardo based on video evidence despite not engaging in what the club's lawyers said was “forensic analysis” of the incident to support their case.
The Gunners' submission will also say that UEFA made “fundamental errors” that were “completely wrong in regard to the position of the ball (during the incident)”. They also have accused them of failing to speak to individuals to gather evidence.
UEFA did not demonstrate with direct evidence that Eduardo intended to deceive the referee. In their submission Arsenal said the video evidence shows “there is a deviation in the right ankle of his (Eduardo's) right foot (as he falls). This supports his contention there was contact from the goalkeeper and the committee is encouraged to review this footage.”
The Arsenal submission to UEFA in Eduardo's defence also points out that the player was entitled to take evasive action — especially given his horrific leg break and ankle dislocation against Birmingham City in February 2008.
“Professional footballers are taught to raise their feet to avoid injury,” Arsenal said to Uefa. “Even if a player acts successfully to avoid contact this is not cheating.”