Belfast Telegraph

'Hazard hasn't kicked him hard enough': Joey Barton

By Simon Rice

Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard will not face criminal action after he lashed out at a ball boy during last night's Capital One Cup semi-final defeat to Swansea.

Police officers spoke to the 17-year-old following the match and no complaint was made.

"South Wales Police can confirm that the Swansea City ball boy has been interviewed in the presence of his father and no complaint has been made," a spokesperson for South Wales Police said.

"The ball boy did not sustain any injuries."

QPR midfielder Joey Barton, on loan at Marseille, has typically waded into the debate by taking to Twitter this morning to suggest Hazard should have gone further.

He tweeted: "Hazard only crime is he hasn't kicked him hard enough..."

Barton later updated his Twitter feed to clarify his comments, insisting he was not advocating the kicking of ball boys.

"Just re-read that last tweet and it sounds like i'm advocating kicking ballboys! Haha I was mearly trying to point out Hazard, may as well.. ..of kicked him properly for the way he is going to be punished for this. Public perception is he's volleyed him. In reality he's tried.. ..all be it in an aggressive manner to dislodge the ball from beneath him. I am strictly against the kicking of balls people. #kickitout"

He added "Hope that clears that statement up... #twistedsentiments"

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin suggests the ball boy had what was coming to him, labelling his behaviour "disgraceful".

"I would have kicked the ball out from underneath the ball boy if he had been lying like that, 100 per cent," he told BBC Radio Five.

He added: "I was very, very disappointed by the way the ball boy acted, and I say 'acted'.

"He must have been watching footballers, the way he rolled around and pretended to be more injured.

"He only has one job and his job is to go and give the ball back, and what did he do? He keeps the ball.

"I have to say I was absolutely amazed this morning to find he is 17, not 12, not 13.

"He should know what his action should be in that situation. His behaviour was disgraceful."

The incident occurred in the final minutes of the match at the 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 the ball boy, named locally as Charlie Morgan, proceeded to lay on the ball in an attempt to waste time.

With Chelsea needing two goals to have any chance of winning the two-legged tie, Hazard attempted to retrieve the ball back by kicking at the ball, and in doing so hit Morgan.

Hazard was immediately sent off for the incident by referee Chris Foy and after the match the Belgian international made a public apology. Morgan was also invited into the Chelsea dressing room after the game where it's understood the pair apologised to each other.

Hazard told Chelsea TV: “The boy put his whole body onto the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball and I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologise. The ballboy came in the changing room and we had a quick chat and I apologised and the boy apologised as well, and it is over. Sorry.”

A spokesman for Swansea, who will play Bradford City in the final on 24 February, later confirmed that South Wales police had spoken to Morgan and his father and it had been agreed that no charges would be pressed. He said that Frank Lampard and John Terry in particular had made Morgan feel welcome when he was invited into the dressing room, accompanied by a member of the Swansea staff.

It's understood that the Football Association will review the incident once they have read Foy's match report.

Hazard will automatically be banned for three games due to his straight red card but the FA have the power to increase his suspension.

Belfast Telegraph

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