Eden Hazard kicks ballboy, was Chelsea star justified? - video

Jan 24, 2013

Opinion split over player's actions, but Chelsea left 'humiliated' after shocking episode

SWANSEA CITY made it through to the Capital One Cup final after their 0-0 draw with Chelsea in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday night, but their achievement was completely overshadowed by an incident involving Chelsea's Eden Hazard, who was given a red card for kicking a ballboy.

The shocking moment came with 12 minutes to go when 17-year-old Swansea volunteer Charlie Morgan threw himself on top of the ball after it trickled out of play in an attempt to stop Chelsea retrieving it.

Hazard lost his cool and tried to kick the ball out from underneath the ballboy but appeared to make contact with the youngster, who was left clutching his ribs and rolling on the turf in apparent agony. The Chelsea man was shown a straight red card by referee Chris Hoy. He now faces a three-match ban, and the FA could choose to punish him further, although the police are not investigating the incident.

The teenager visited the Chelsea dressing room after the incident and manager Rafa Benitez said that both the teenager and Hazard had apoligised for their actions.

But the matter is yet another blot on a dismal season for Chelsea, who have surrendered the European Cup, lost their manager and seen two other players involved in damaging racism cases.

However, the media reaction to the incident has been close to hysterical and Twitter went into overdrive in the aftermath of the kick.

"Disgrace" roared The Times, "shame" cried The Guardian. The Daily Telegraph called it an "extraordinary and deeply embarrassing incident" and the Daily Mail said Hazard had "humiliated" Chelsea and dragged them "into the gutter".

Hazard may have cost £32m, said Tony Evans in the Times, but in terms of character he is "worth about 32p".

"The onus is on the FA to act. It cannot be acceptable to behave like Hazard did last night. This sort of behaviour demands similar draconian treatment. The violence of the kick demands a long ban," he wrote.

"Anyone who finds excuses for Hazard by claiming the ballboy was wasting time should be ashamed of themselves."

However, plenty of others disagreed. Rik Sharma of the Daily Mail was among them. "There are two sides to every story and Hazard is not the only party who should be criticised," he wrote, pointing out that the ballboy, the son of Swansea club director Martin Morgan, had boasted on Twitter about timewasting before the match.

"The apparent agony of his victim was laughable," he added. "Particularly when you factor in the image of two staff members carrying him off as if he were an injured footballer. He certainly reacted like one."

Ex-players on Twitter appeared to have sympathy for Hazard. "If the ball boy gives the ball straight back and does his job properly that doesn't happen," wrote BBC pundit Robbie Savage. Everton's Steven Pienaar explained: "In the heat of the moment u just want the ball".

Some went even further. Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin told the BBC the teenager was a "disgrace" and said he too would have tried to kick the ball free, he added that Hazard's red card should be rescinded.

But it could only happen to Chelsea. The Guardian said the clash was "the latest high-profile incident to blight Chelsea's traumatic season".

According to the Telegraph "there will be a painful inquest in a season of painful inquests".

And in the Times, Evans noted: "There is rampant insanity in the game. And nowhere is it madder than in SW6... Self-awareness is not a strong point at Stamford Bridge."

Neil Ashton of the Mail wrote: "This time Chelsea must act. They must take their own action, make an example of a player who has embarrassed and humiliated the club in front of a worldwide TV audience."

He also pointed out that Chelsea even had to apologise for an official tweet sent immediately after the incident, which defended Hazard. "Frankly, the club's lack of self-discipline is alarming."

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Disqus - noscript

The son of the board member, bragging about time-wasting on twitter Ball-Man is a prat!!!

Hazard should have kicked the little time-wasting runt harder.You can see that he's a nasty piece of work. Give him an ASBO and actual hard labour, the pr!ck.

It's the refs job to deal with time wasting not the players. End of chat. Chelsea ball boys would do the same thing if they were winning. Would it be ok if a fan ran onto the pitch and kicked a Chelsea player while he's rolling around on the floor like he's been shot, isn't that time wasting too?

What a load of rubbish, that ball boy was clearly in the wrong and wasting time, I believe Eden Hazard was just trying to get the ball off of him but accidentally kicked him. I am not a chelsea fan so there is no bias intended in this statement

Kicking the ball boy was stupid and the red card was the right thing, but what about the ball boy? His job is to help get the ball back into play as fast as he can Swansea City should never allow him to do a game again. He also is a bad representation for the Swansea City club. That in no way justifies what Eden Hazard did but I would pissed at that ball boy as well and if he was my kid when he got home he would be punished on top of it for being unsportsman like to the other team. Basically they are both idiots for what they did but Edan is going to be ridiculed and the ball boy will be: "Oh poor ball boy got kicked"

I think the problem here is that Hazard did not kick him hard enough. This was indeed a disgraceful display from a spoilt brat who should never be allowed pitchside again. The boy, his father, and journalists who complain about the falling standards among footballers while themselves imitating the worst excesses of the gutter press- editors from the Times, the Guardian and the Mail (sorry, of course that is the gutter press) please note- should all be ashamed of themselves. The incident may not embellish Hazard's reputation, but the larger problem is the one-sided and hysterical reaction of commentators to a minor incident, in which blame is equally shared. I suppose it was also unsurprising in these times of vacuous reporting that Nicky Campbell devoted his phone-in programme to this non-issue, characteristically stirring it up while maintaining that perhaps too much fuss was being made, in the style we have come to expect from Five Live as it continues to fill out the the morning schedules with cheap, sensationalised , and poorly- mediated 'discussions. These also need kicking into touch. So, all you over-excited journalists looking for cheap copy, calm down and try to find something more important to write about- you come out of this no better than Hazard and that pathetic youth Morgan.

Agreed the ball boy was being a prat, but again that is for the ref/FA to deal with not the player. Chelsea will try to sign that kid now as he managed to keep the ball longer than Torres can

The ball-boy is clearly a little sh!t, rolling around like he's been shot, gesturing to the ref, and his mate walking him around the pitch could hardly contain a smirk! Hazard was obviously trying to stun the ball out from under him to get on with the match, and had no malicious intent. Stupid nonetheless. Basically he wasn't thinking. Media reaction is typical of the British press. Need to sell papers & footballers are scum - so valid targets, right?! Sad..

Hazard was there to kick ball, and that's what he did. The ball boy was only being the brat that he was, and the press joining to make issues out of a non-issue, as usual.

A whole lot of nothing !

This, like the Cantona kicking the fan incident, is an example of the media getting things totally wrong in their effort to appear 'responsible' (it is difficult to support summary justice in print). I think the big question is what would have happened if the team had appealed to the ref about time wasting? What are the rules? Anyone know anything about football?

it turns out the ball adolescent (I couldn't use the term boy to refer to a 17 year old) has a direct reason to slow the game down, his father is a Swansea director!! ???...maybe from now on, ball boys, being like second level match officials should also be from an indepdent 3rd party club!?

I really wish Eden Hazard had kicked the ball boy harder. The ball boy had a simple task placed in front of him: give the ball back to the player. Instead, he decided to dry hump the ball and subsequently act like he got shot in the 'ribs', or, rather, the packet of fat affixed to his side.

What is all this media hype? The fat lump only got what any other idiot would get if they tied that at any Sunday league match. Prat!

Ball Boy smother the ball at the Australian Open Tennis?

Hilarious and original all in one, good work sir...