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Platini calls for extra ref to tackle divers

UEFA president Michel Platini on Thursday called for an extra referee to be on hand to ward off the problem of diving, in the wake of the controversy caused by Arsenal striker Eduardo winning a dubious penalty against Celtic on the way to Wednesday's qualifying round victory.

sports Updated: Aug 27, 2009 18:24 IST

UEFA president Michel Platini on Thursday called for an extra referee to be on hand to ward off the problem of diving, in the wake of the controversy caused by Arsenal striker Eduardo winning a dubious penalty against Celtic on the way to Wednesday's qualifying round victory.

Eduardo tumbled theatrically to the turf as Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc came out to make a save and television replays suggested there was no contact between the pair but the Brazilian-born Croatian forward got up to dispatch the resulting spot kick and make it 3-0 on aggregate, effectively killing off the contest.

Arsenal, already buoyed by a 2-0 first leg win in Glasgow, eventually ran out 5-1 winners on aggregate after a 3-1 return leg success.

"Disciplinary procedures exist and, of course, these can be brought to bear on a player who has cheated but I think that the day a referee sees that (and punishes the player) the player will not cheat again," Platini suggested.

But he noted that further measures might have to be countenanced.

"We have had years of cheating as the referee sees nothing - with an extra referee you would see better what is going on. 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.

Earlier, Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith said he wanted UEFA to punish Eduardo for diving.

Smith said: "Eduardo is a terrific player who has battled back from a serious injury to resume playing at the highest level.

"However, on Wednesday he showed disrespect to the game by his actions in winning a penalty against Celtic.

"Since I came into this post, I have raised the issue of simulation time and time again - both here in Scotland and with FIFA and UEFA.

"I don't think that I have received enough support in my efforts to eradicate what I believe to be one of the most serious threats to the integrity of football. Last night showed exactly why we must take this issue seriously."

Celtic midfielder Massimo Donati called for Eduardo to be banned in the immediate aftermath of the match and Smith himjself wants UEFA, European football's governing body, to act retrospectively to punish the striker in the same way the European governing body dealt with Lithuania striker Saulius Mikoliunas, who cheated to earn a spot-kick against Scotland at Hampden Park in September 2007.

Video evidence was used to sanction Mikoliunas, who was banned for two matches.

Even Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted it was not a penalty and Donati, who scored Celtic's goal in stoppage time, added: "If it is clear on TV then UEFA must act against Eduardo and ban him."