The trouble with the UEFA vs Eduardo story is that the number of strands within it keeps getting bigger.
It is a bit like trying to grasp the nature of the universe. Just when you have got your head around the fact that space and time are all part of the same entity, along comes string theory that says well actually you need ten dimensions not four, and two of those might be time.
Or something like that.
So, to begin at the end and work into the middle…
We know that top dogs at the Scottish Football Assn were instrumental in getting UEFA to consider using Article 10 (1) (c) of the UEFA codebook, an article which does indeed allow them to charge players retrospectively. (I believe I suggested recently that there was no such statute – my apologies, there is.)
But it has never been used – because once it is, it opens up the opportunity for it to be called upon time and time again. As the Lord Wenger has said, every action can be questioned from now on.
The Article also has the flaw in that it requires UEFA to look inside the mind of the players and know what they are thinking!
Did the SFA do this to support Celtic? Ask a Celtic fan and he or she would scream with laughter – every Celtic fan I know, and I admit it is only a small number, tell me that the SFA is a masonic protestant organisation that is institutionally biased against their club.
It is also interesting that on the saturday after the Arsenal / Celtic game Celtic had a player sent off for diving – the Celtic manager blaming Arsenal for making Celtic and diving a high profile case.
So if the SFA did not act to support Celtic, then what we it all about?
To understand most criminal activity it is generally a good idea to understand motive. What is UEFA’s motive in doing this? Not to support Celtic, that’s true, because even if Arsenal had not got the first goal at the Ems, and had gone down to ten, I am not that sure that Celtic would have scored three and won. That is too long a shot.
And, in my opinion, not really to hit Arsenal. Eduardo is not playing every game – and so if he misses Standard L away on Sept 16, then he is more than likely to play against Manchester Arabs on September 12, and Wigan home on September 19.
The same is true next time: he might play against Fulham on 26 September, miss the Olympic game on 29th and play against Blackburn on October 4.
So if this doesn’t really hurt Arsenal or Celtic, then what is going on?
I think we have to look at other events – including the bizarre way in which UEFA comes out with, well, wild, crazy and eccentric statements such as the notion that Chelsea and Milan support a restriction on spending by owners of clubs.
At the same time it does seem that UEFA would like to cut the power of the EPL – and particularly the Lord Wenger. Arsene was the only EPL manager to say that game 39 overseas was a good idea. He is one of the few to come out in favour of a Euro League away from the clutches of UEFA. For UEFA he is the enemy within.
At the same time the EPL were desparate to get the media off the issue of the rioting at West Ham. So it could be argued that things just came together – UEFA attack the pro-Euro League Wenger, and knock the EPL, while the EPL distract from West Ham by putting out the word to journalist friends that the big story is not West Ham, not a man being knifed, but one player falling over.
But I don’t think the picture is complete – although it is slowly coming together.
What is still unclear is why the SFA would join in so quickly? Was it as revenge for the fact that Arsenal slaughtered Rangers in the Ems Cup and made Scottish football look foolish? A bit of a long shot, but with people as deranged as those inside UEFA and the SFA seem to be, anything is possible.
What makes all this so interesting, and to conclude by returning to my scientific theme at the start, is that in science there is thing called Occam’s Razor, which in essence says, if looking for an explanation of a phenomenon, go for the simplest answer.
But what is the simplest answer to the fact that the SFA got in touch with UEFA and demanded that for the first time they actually use Article 10 (1) (c) and claim that they can see inside a player’s mind? And what is the simplest answer to the question: why on earth did UEFA agree?
At the moment, I have no idea. All suggestions welcome.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
“Making the Arsenal” (which I manage to mention in just about every other post now, but somehow failed to slip in this time) is a novel, telling the story of the collapse of Woolwich Arsenal and the birth of the modern club through its take over by Norris in 1910. It comes out in October, and guess what – I might actually mention it when the time comes.
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- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate