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On the Hazard-ballboy incident

Michael Steele

It turns out that failing to reach a hilariously winnable League Cup final thanks to an insipid display wasn't the worst thing to happen to Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday. Eden Hazard will be suspended for... well, a while after receiving a straight red card following an incident with a Swansea ballboy in which the Belgian kicked the ball out from under him.

Here's what it looked like:

via @bubbaprog

Now, there are mitigating circumstances. The kid (17-year-old Charlie Morgan) was wasting time, as confirmed by his pre-game tweets to that effect, faked being hurt afterwards and was essentially being an enormous prat. That would be plenty justification for the FA to fine Swansea, whose employee was essentially cheating to give them a better chance of making it through to the final.

But for Hazard to take matters into his own hands, against a child? That's completely indefensible. No, I don't think he was deliberately kicking the kid in the ribs. Morgan was lying on top of the ball and he poked it out from under him. But that doesn't mean that doing anything that even looks like assault (and it did) is a reasonable reaction for a professional footballer to do.

Both parties were completely in the wrong. But while it's on Swansea to control their moron children, it's on Hazard to NOT KICK THEM. It was a idiotic decision that'll hurt his team, and it's absolutely embarrassing conduct from a Chelsea player. You're better than this, Eden.

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