Paul Parker

No anti-English conspiracy

Paul Parker

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What might have been a quiet international week has been dominated by two huge stories involving the authorities cracking down on English clubs.

Arsenal's Eduardo has been given a two-match ban for his dive against Celtic, and more shockingly Chelsea have received a 16-month ban on signing players after FIFA found them guilty of inducing Gael Kakuta to break his contract.

Both clubs feel hard done by and have appealed, but I think it is fanciful to suggest there is a conspiracy against English clubs from football's authorities.

I feel a bit sorry for Chelsea, because they appear to have been caught out doing something everyone else is doing, and which is ingrained in the game.

That is not to say the practice is not wrong. Parents of youngsters have their heads turned by the money being offered by these big clubs, but when you see the age of some of these kids it is almost like child trafficking. I think no footballer should be allowed to leave his home country until is 18.

It is good that FIFA want to make a stand, but I would be surprised if Chelsea cannot get the punishment reduced on appeal.

Chelsea have an ageing squad and of course the embargo will affect them. However, if they can get the period cut so it only affects them next January, they should be alright.

This case has certainly opened a can of worms. Le Havre have already made a complaint over Manchester United's signing of Paul Pogba, which United have described as "nonsense", and I think we will see plenty of people coming out of the woodwork.

It will go on and on, and FIFA really need to look fundamentally at the way transfers are conducted. There is so much money flying about and so many underhand practices, the whole thing needs a root-and-branch reform.

Compared with the Chelsea affair, Eduardo's two-match ban for diving looks like small beer.

The powers-that-be have got to start somewhere in the fight against diving, and it is just unfortunate for Eduardo that they started with him.

Of course plenty of other players are doing the same thing, but he was caught bang-to-rights and Arsenal should just accept the punishment.

Arsene Wenger is famous for not seeing incidents, but he has had to watch several thousand replays of Eduardo's dive in the last week.

Of course Wenger is right that UEFA need to have a systematic approach to diving and not just cherry-pick certain high-profile cases.

The authorities in this country should take the initiative and appoint a panel to look at every professional game and cite divers within 24 hours, whether the referee spots them at the time or not.

Everybody wants consistency, and you can only achieve that by going after all of the divers or none of them. I know which option I prefer.

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