Last night there was a signigficant incident at Letzigrund in Zurich. Alexandre Alphonse won a penalty for his side after English referee Martin Atkinson believed he saw a foul by Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas. However, on further inspection and after numerous replays from different angles, there appears to be another case of deception on UEFA’s hands. Luckily for Madrid, the converted spot kick did not have any bearing on the result as some terrible goalkeeping allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to seal the victory with a second freekick but UEFA’s course of action (or even a lack of it) whatever it may be will be of vast importance to the future of the game.
Eduardo’s antics against Celtic a few weeks back won him a penalty although the replay clearly pointed that he dived. At the time the referee was deceived but UEFA decided to make an example of the Croatian by handing him a two-match European ban. If UEFA do nothing to Alphonse here then it would be a clear example of harsh treatment of English clubs. Alternatively they could be consistent with their line of punishment and ban him for the same period of time as well. It has already been well documented that this punishment is extreme as it would take three yellow cards for a player to miss one game in the competition. It doesn’t take a mathamatician to work out that Eduardo’s punishment was six times what it would have been if the referee had booked him for diving.
Yes diving is wrong but it is up to the referee and his assistants to notice it at the point in time that it occurs. What next? Will goals ruled out for offside be allowed to be contested after a game is finished with the scorer of the goal getting a ban too? Surely it makes more sense than ever to introduce an additional linesman behind each goal. At least then the referee has a better chance of making the right decision and UEFA wont have to get involved at all. I fear that whatever is made of Alphonse’s dive, the outcome cannot and will not benefit the game at all.