On the 23 of January, Eden Hazard was sent off during a Capital One Cup semi-final second leg match against Swansea.
Strange you may ask, considering Hazard isn’t known as a hard-hitting midfielder. Quite the opposite.
However, with a place in the capital one-cup final at stake and Chelsea finding themselves behind to Swansea, frustration was rife amongst the Chelsea squad and as the ball ran out for a goal kick, ball boy Charlie Morgan refuses to hand over the ball. Eden Hazard responds in frustration and kicks the ball boy in an attempt to quickly restart the game.
…the ball boy was wrong for interfering with play…
Such actions from the Chelsea midfielder left referee Chris Foy with a difficult decision. Whilst the ball boy was wrong for interfering with play, it did not justify Hazards actions and the midfielder was promptly sent off for violent conduct.
Since the incident, opinions have been coming thick and fast from players and referees alike. Winger Gareth Bale voiced his opinion: “Unbelievable decision by the referee to send Hazard off”.
…Hazard is set to serve an automatic three-match ban…
Whilst former referee Dermot Gallagher defends referee Chris Foy saying “he was absolutely correct to send off Eden Hazard, it is violent conduct. He has quite rightly sent him off.”
However on the 25 of February, the voice that mattered spoke as the F.A issued their verdict. Whilst Hazard is set to serve an automatic three-match ban, the F.A deemed this a lenient punishment. Consequently the F.A have decided to charge Hazard due to the violent nature of the incident. As a result Hazards ban could be extended.
…how unlucky he is…
Unlucky for the Chelsea midfielder, and he shall know on Friday just how unlucky he is when the verdict is decided.
However the F.A must be congratulated for reminding teams “of their responsibilities in ensuring ball boys and other personnel around the pitch act in an appropriate manner at all times and will liaise with competitions accordingly.” (The F.A, 2013)
As I believe Charlie Morgan’s actions were just as wrong as Hazards, and much should be done to prevent similar scenes in the future.