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By ESPN Staff

McDonald: Eduardo ban quash sends wrong message

Celtic striker Scott McDonald believes UEFA's decision to quash Eduardo's two-match ban for an alleged dive will make it more difficult to stamp out simulation from the game.

The Arsenal striker was initially suspended by Europe's governing body on a charge of "deceiving the referee'' after winning and scoring a penalty against the Hoops in their Champions League qualifier at the Emirates Stadium at the end of August.

The spot-kick in itself arguably made little material difference to the game as Arsenal racked up a 3-1 win to make it a 5-1 win on aggregate for the Gunners. However, the incident sparked renewed interest in the subject of diving with many incidents highlighted in the subsequent weeks.

The assumption was that UEFA were looking to use the Eduardo incident as a statement of intent so there was some surprise when European football's governing body announced yesterday that the ban had been overturned.

McDonald, who arrived in Israel this afternoon for Thursday's Europa League clash with Hapoel Tel Aviv, said: "You've got to look at it from their perspective.

"It is a tough job to pick every player out that falls over, but they set a precedent, they went with it and now they have turned it on its head again. So it will be interesting to see what happens next. It was surprising that they have gone back on their word.

"But we can't really argue that they didn't deserve to beat us over the two games. The penalty was a turning point because it made it 1-0 but if you look over the 180 minutes then they deserved to go through.''

The former Motherwell striker added: "There is a lot of pressure on these guys and if they do pick up on an incident, a lot is made of it. You seen that with incidents that happened after the Eduardo one. There are cameras everywhere and it seemed that every time someone fell over, there was an issue with it.

"But how long has it been an issue? We haven't really said anything up until now. Some of it you can call clever play and some of it, yes, it is cheating. As players, we don't like it and it is frustrating.''

The Australia international believes it would be a lot easier if decisions were called correctly at the time they occurred, rather than looking to use retrospective legislation. "No one likes to see what happened but unfortunately it is part of the game,'' he said.

"We just need the people in charge of the game to see these things rather than afterwards. All that matters to the players on the pitch is that the right decision is made or else it can upset the result.''

McDonald, who will lead the line for the Hoops in Tel Aviv, dismissed recent speculation linking him with a move to Wigan by pledging his future to Celtic.

"It didn't affect me, not at all,'' he said. "I am happy where I am and I have a contract which runs for another three years after this year. I'm very happy with that, my family is happy and I'm enjoying my football.''


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