UEFA have charged Arsenal striker Eduardo with diving after the Croat sriker was awarded a penalty against Celtic in their midweek Champions League play-off clash at the Emirates.
The forward could now be handed a UEFA two-match suspension that will rule him out of the Gunners’ first two Champions League group games.
Following complaints by Celtic and Scottish football bosses UEFA decided to examine video evidence of the incident, which saw Eduardo falling theatrically to the ground despite no evidence of contact being made with Celtic ‘keeper Artur Boruc.
A statement on Friday said: “Having studied video evidence of the incident in question, the UEFA disciplinary inspector decided to charge the player concerned. The UEFA control and disciplinary body will examine the case on September 1.”
It means Eduardo could now be sanctioned in accordance with Article 10, paragraph 1c of the UEFA disciplinary regulations (misconduct of players) which states: “Players may be suspended for two competition matches, or for a specified period, for acting with the obvious intent to cause any match official to make an incorrect decision or supporting his error of judgment and thereby causing him to make an incorrect decision.”
If banned he would miss Arsenal’s away trip to Standard Liege on September 16 and the home match with Olympiakos on September 29.
UEFA’s decision drew a furious response from Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who accused the governing body of conducting a witch-hunt against his player.
“I find it a complete disgrace and unacceptable. We won’t accept the way we have been treated in this case for two reasons,” Wenger said.
“I believe that you can debate whether it was a penalty or not. For me it’s a witch-hunt that we see and not an objective judgement of a case.
“This charge implies there was intent and a desire to cheat the referee. Having watched the pictures again there was nothing conclusive.
“It singles out a player in Europe to be a cheat and that is not acceptable. UEFA has taken action that is not defendable.”
UEFA chief Michel Platini said Thursday he was considering introducing an extra referee to deal with the problem of diving.
“I have been battling for ten years to put in place more referees rather than add procedures following a mistake after it has been seen on the television,” the former France star said.
“We have had years of cheating as the referee sees nothing – with an extra referee you would see better what is going on.”