So we start today with the news that UEFA couldn’t keep their posturing going much longer, and have comprehensively backed down on Eduardo’s European ban, leaving him free to play in tomorrow night’s Champions League opener in Liege. With the FIFA rule stating clearly that an incident can only be considered a dive if no contact has been made, it was never going to stand up to much analysis, and given that wording, it is particularly obvious that Eduardo was unnecessarily singled out by a panel who had decided on the verdict without ever considering the evidence.
Regular readers will know that I can’t stand diving, and do actually consider the Eduardo incident to be one. But his was one of a thousand, and with UEFA refusing to take a look at all games in retrospect, instead coming out with bizarre lines about ‘special circumstances’, the player did not deserve suspension. Unless you’re going to clamp down by banning them all, you can’t ban one. Personally, I’m in favour of strong action, by UEFA aren’t ready or willing to open that particular can of worms.
As a result, they have once again shown themselves up to be exceptionally weak-minded.
Elsewhere, a charge process has just begun, Adebayor hit with two of them. The first is for the violent conduct of raking his studs down Van Persie’s face, and is almost certain to result in a three match ban after Clattenburg confirmed that he missed it, but would have sent the player off had he seen it . The second is for the celebration, and that one will run much later (the first charge is fast tracked and will be resolved this week), but with Greater Manchester Police condemning it, at least an additional one match ban is likely.
Of course, that makes no difference to us. Some will take satisfaction in his suspension, but in reality he’ll miss a United game we probably wanted him to play in, and it doesn’t help us in any way. So let’s move on.
The home grown rule arrives. Sort of.
The final piece of governing body news is the Premier League’s attempt to force clubs to develop players. On further inspection, however, the rules does precisely nothing.
The ruling is “As of next season clubs will be required to have a squad named of up to 25 players, of which no more than 17 can be over the age of 21 and not home grown”. Some have taken this to mean that clubs must have eight home-grown players. Wrong. You need eight players who are 21 or under, OR home-grown. They don’t need to be both.
So you could go out and buy a squad of 25 right now, all of them from overseas, and as long as eight were 21 or younger, you’d be fine. Alternatively, you could have a squad as old as Chelsea’s, as long as eight of them have spent three years in an English or Welsh academy before their 21st birthday.
As rules go, it isn’t hard to get around, and no club’s current squad breaks it. So really, it is a whole load of talk about nothing.
A bit like this article, really. More tomorrow.