At 16:44 on transfer deadline day - i.e. when the frequency of transfers is supposed to be at its highest, Uefa announced - presumably trying to bury the story amongst all the transfers - that they were banning Eduardo for two matches for diving.
Of course its ridiculous, but I think a comprehensive analysis is necessary just to show up how preposterous this punishment is.
Precedent: Uefa, by banning Eduardo, have set a precedent. They always said if a referee saw an incident during the match they could take no action. Well now they have.
As an excellent article on Online Gooner showed, by banning Eduardo, Uefa will now need to investigate all the other players who are guilty of simulation. And that is a huge, huge number.
And fine, everyone wants diving eradicated - but we also want to see the best players playing football and Uefa are either going to be inconsistent or see huge numbers of players banned. If they do the former, its ludicrous and completely unfair; and if they do the latter the Champions League won't be the spectacle it should be.
But perhaps most importantly they've undermined the power a referee has. It's now better for a player not to appeal to the referee for diving because the ref can only give a yellow card; Uefa will ban their opponent.
Referees now know their decision isn't final. They can give a penalty and be made look stupid. They won't want to actually punish diving on the pitch because they know Uefa can watch a replay and be certain. So the whole thing is actually counter-productive.
History: Depending on which news source you read Uefa brought in Article 10 Para. 1c either in 2004 or 2006. Its irrelevant. A moot point. The point is its been around for several years.
And this is what it says: Article 10 (1c) of its disciplinary code states that a player may be suspended for two matches or more 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”.
Now correct me if I'm wrong but so many things fall under this. Surely if a referee doesn't give a penalty, the opposing team should point it was one (if it was). And if they don't then they should all be banned. According to the rules that is.
But this gets away from the point: this rule has been around for either three or five years, and one person has been charged under it; suddenly, there was a big media furore over Eduardo and then he was charged.
He is a scapegoat. It's undeniable. And for me this is what makes it worse. This isn't a new rule. Uefa could have used it countless times but haven't and so banning Eduardo is wholly inconsistent.
And wholly inappropriate too - Arsene's excuse that Eduardo was avoiding contact with his bad leg is believable.
But ultimately, the crux of the matter is this: so many have got away with it since 2004, that banning Eduardo five years later is clearly just the result of media pressure. Uefa have confirmed this by saying they don't foresee it being a long-term thing.
And then what got my goat further was the argument that we have got off lightly: Eduardo will only miss matches against Standard Liege and Alkmaar, its a nothing punishment.
Thats laughable. Arsenal didn't choose the matches he would miss.
Its hardly like its a positive. In the second world war Hitler chose to kill lots of gypsies as well as Jews and homosexuals. Now, I happen to find gypsies wholly agreeable folk but even if I didn't, I wouldn't construe the Holocaust as a positive merely because some gypsies died.
Its the same thing with Eduardo: just because luckily his ban falls at a good time for us doesn't legitimise the ban. A small positive out of something awful, preposterous and ridiculous is not something to be celebrated.
But clearly Uefa banning Eduardo is ridiculous. The ban is as appropriate as asking Sheikh Abu Hamza to juggle.
We can only hope the appeal is successful. It bloody well should be.
Keep the faith,