UEFA’s decision to ban Arsenal’s Eduardo for two matches after diving in a Champions League qualifier creates a precedent, a very dangerous precedent. This may well result in revisionism, the rewriting of football history and airbrushing Ashley Cole out of the 2003 Shoot Soccer Annual.

I forecast the following events which will have unexpected and dire repercussions for the game:

  • Mexico 1986. Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal is ruled out and England win the World Cup. The finest football anthem ever, Baddiel and Skinner’s ‘Three Lions’ never gets written; ‘Ten years of hurt’ just doesn’t scan.
  • The award of Wayne Rooney’s penalty that halted Arsenal’s unbeaten run is declared ‘unsafe’. Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ subsequently extend their unbeaten run by a further 20 matches. Fanzine writers universally rejoice at ‘The Immortal 69’ers’.
  • Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool mount a joint appeal against Cristiano Ronaldo. UEFA reduce his tally of 84 goals in 196 Premiership appearances to just 3 goals in 27 starts for ‘simulation, posturing and ball hogging.’ UEFA conduct a detailed simulation of their own using Championship Manager on networked PS3’s. United are relegated and jostle for top spot with Leeds in Division One
  • Richard Dunne of Manchester City receives a lifetime ban for attempting to ‘deceive a referee’ by impersonating a Premiership footballer. Questions are also raised in betting circles at his general ineptitude yet contrasting displays of brilliant, solid defending in every single Manchester derby.
  • Gerard Houlier is sectioned under the mental Health Act before he utters the immortal words ‘Ten games from greatness’. He watches ‘Pink Panther’ incessantly and practises violent martial arts with William Gallas every Thursday. Later appears in a cameo in ‘Kill Bill Vol. 2’. Currently in rehab and guesting on ‘Soccer Saturday’ alongside Phil Thompson.