Early Doors

Wenger’s righteous indignation

Early Doors

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So, UEFA have charged Eduardo with deceiving the referee
after diving to win a penalty in Arsenal's
3-1 win against Celtic the other night.

Early Doors has stopped trying to make sense of the
controversy and will henceforth just sit back and enjoy it.

This whole furore has to be a good thing if it prompts Arsene
Wenger to say the following:

"I find it a complete disgrace." (Not that his player dived, but
that he looks likely to be punished for it.)

"There is nothing conclusive. It singles out a player
in Europe to be a cheat and that is not
acceptable." (What if he is a cheat? Or has at least cheated in that
instance? Should the police stop singling out shoplifters as criminals?)

"For me it's a witch
hunt." (For ED, it will be a witch hunt when he is thrown into a river
with weights tied to him. If he floats he's
a diver, if he sinks he's innocent.)

"It is not an objective judgement of the case. Eduardo was touched by
the goalkeeper and we can prove that." (How can you prove it? With
Snick-o-meter? And even if he did brush the keeper it doesn't mean it isn't
a dive.)

"It is funny in football because you can break the legs
of players and it doesn't make a
debate for anybody but this case has been all over the world and is being
treated like Eduardo has killed somebody." (While many people think the
justice system is soft on criminals, ED is pretty sure the sentence for
manslaughter is more than a two-match ban.)

"The existing rules of football have been changed just for this case,
so from now on, we will challenge every single decision, I tell you, that is
made in Europe by the referees." (Of
course, until now Wenger and his fellow managers have meekly accepted the
referee's decision as final.)

"This is the first time I have been in football that the judgement of
the referee has not been accepted." (Well, there was that
Lithuania-Scotland game where Saulius Mikoliunas was retrospectively banned -
although perhaps all that proves is that Scots are extremely bad losers.)

As easy (and fun) as it is to mock Wenger, he does have a
point. Normally if the referee sees an incident and makes a judgement, that
cannot later be reversed - a rule that seems to have been conveniently forgotten.

He is also right that Eduardo's
dive has been singled out from among the many hundreds of dives that take place
around the world every weekend. Which is weird, given it was a largely
meaningless spot-kick in the context of the tie.

If you're going
to have a rule that referees'
decisions can be reviewed and revised after the, have a rule. If not, shut up
and stop making a scene just because lots of UEFA delegates are in Monte Carlo trying to make a big noise.

- - -

On the subject of righteous indignation, you cannot do any better than David
Coleman, whose introduction to the infamous 'Battle
of Santiago' at the 1962 World Cup
is possibly the angriest piece of broadcasting ED has ever seen.

Coleman begins: "Good evening. The game you are about
to see is the most stupid, appalling, disgusting exhibition of football
possibly in the history of the game. Chile
versus Italy;
this is the first time these two countries have met, we hope it will be the

It is majestic stuff, and some of the challenges aren't half bad either. Watch the video here.

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