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Aug 27, 2009

Scottish FA dive in to Eduardo row

Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith has added his voice to the calls from Celtic players urging UEFA to ban Arsenal striker Eduardo after he appeared to dive to win a controversial penalty in Arsenal's 3-1 Champions League play-off victory at the Emirates.

Arsenal's comprehensive 5-1 aggregate win was marred when Croatian international Eduardo, making only his second start of the season for the Gunners, fell to the ground as Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc made a challenge in the 28th minute.

The simulation conned Spanish referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez and the striker scored from the penalty spot to open the scoring.

After the match Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted that "having seen it again on television, it doesn't look to be a penalty" and Celtic midfielder Massimo Donati called for action to be taken against Eduardo.

"If it is clear on television then UEFA must act against Eduardo and ban him. I think he should get a two-match suspension," Donati said. "It was not a penalty. I told him, and everyone in the Celtic team told him. But unfortunately it is part of football now. We can do nothing now because the referee gave it."

Donati believes Eduardo should be treated the same way as Lithuania striker Saulius Mikoliunas, who cheated to earn a spot-kick against Scotland at Hampden Park in September 2007. Video evidence was used by UEFA to punish Mikoliunas, who was given a two-match ban.

The SFA also used retrospective punishment to sanction Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty, who feigned being headbutted by Aberdeen defender Charlie Mulgrew during an SPL game in May. And SFA chief Smith wants UEFA to do the same with Eduardo.

"We have shown the courage to use retrospective punishment when it comes to simulation and I would urge UEFA to do so in this instance. Everything that can be done to stamp it out must be done - starting right now," said Smith.

"Since I came into this post, I have raised the issue of simulation time and time again - both here in Scotland and with FIFA and UEFA. I don't think that I have received enough support in my efforts to eradicate what I believe to be one of the most serious threats to the integrity of football. Last night showed exactly why we must take this issue seriously.

"Everyone in football has a responsibility to set the right example to our youngsters. We can talk all we want about fair play campaigns, but taking action would be a much more powerful deterrent and would send the right message to players everywhere.

"Eduardo is a terrific player who has battled back from a serious injury to resume playing at the highest level. However, last night he showed disrespect to the game by his actions in winning a penalty against Celtic."

UEFA officials have confirmed they will review the match "to see whether a disciplinary investigation should be launched".

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