FA Chief Says Eden Hazard Wrong To Kick Ballboy, Possible Three-Game Ban Looms
FA Chair Gordon Taylor said Chelsea player Eden Hazard should not have "taken the law into his own hands" when he allegedly kicked a Swansea ballboy Wednesday while trying to retrieve the ball, according to Frank Keogh of the BBC. Hazard was ejected for violent conduct during the Capital One Cup semifinal second leg. Taylor said, "You can't take the law into your own hands" (BBC, 1/24). In London, Simon Rice reported the incident occurred in the final minutes of the match at Liberty Stadium in Wales in which Swansea advanced to next month's cup final with a 2-0 aggregate win. When the ball went out of play, ballboy Charlie Morgan "proceeded to lay on the ball in an attempt to waste time." Hazard "attempted to retrieve the ball back by kicking at the ball, and in doing so hit Morgan" (INDEPENDENT, 1/24). Also in London, Jeremy Wilson wrote there has been "widespread condemnation" for the part played by Morgan. Swansea Manager Michael Laudrup denied that "there had been any instruction for ballboys to waste time" (TELEGRAPH, 1/24).
TIME-WASTING TWEET: Also in London, Naughton & Jacob reported Morgan had "boasted on Twitter before the match of his talent for time-wasting." Morgan wrote on Twitter that he no longer acts as a ballboy but had been called back to run the ballboy team "because of the snow." Morgan wrote, "The king of all ballboys is back making his final appearance #needed #for #timewasting." Morgan is thought to have had only a few thousand followers before the match, but by Thursday morning "he had more than 80,000." Footballers also questioned the ball boy's reaction. Former England striker Michael Owen said, "Both the kid and Hazard were in the wrong. Not having Hazard tried to hurt him, though. He just tried to toe poke it [the ball] out of his grip." Hazard issued an apology. Hazard: "The boy put his whole body on to the ball, and I was just trying to kick the ball and I think I kicked the ball and not the boy." The FA is "expected to charge Hazard with misconduct and he can expect at least a three-game ban" (LONDON TIMES, 1/24).