FA Investigating Ball Boy Incident

FA Investigating Ball Boy Incident

FA Investigating Ball Boy Incident
Just when it seemed Chelsea's reputation couldn't sink any lower, along comes "Ballboygate." The Football Association's disciplinary body opened a fresh file on the English club Thursday after winger Eden Hazard was sent off for kicking a 17-year-old ball boy while attempting to retrieve the ball toward the end of a League Cup semifinal match against Swansea.

Swansea ball boy picks himself off the field after getting kicked at by Eden Hazard while retrieving the ball.And the ball boy was able to resume his duties.

Professional Footballers' Association chairman Gordon Taylor told the BBC Thursday that Hazard should not have "taken the law into his own hands." The Belgium winger has apologized to the ball boy -- and will not face criminal charges -- but will be handed a minimum three-match ban for violent conduct, depriving Chelsea of one of its top players.

Worse for the European champions, however, is having to face further accusations that its millionaire players are out of control, soon after the racism scandals involving John Terry, Ashley Cole and John Obi Mikel that blighted 2012.

"It is an extraordinary incident," former referee Dermot Gallagher said. "There's no defense for that. Someone said it was borne out of frustration but you have to accept it. It was an extreme, but you can't have that at a football match." The incident sparked a flurry of activity on social networking sites and induced imaginative headlines in British newspapers, such as "Ed Case," "Occupational Hazard" and "Boots of Hazard." BBC radio has already been referring to it as "Ballboygate."

Many ex-professionals have reacted with sympathy for Hazard, who was attempting to get the ball back into play as quickly as possible with Chelsea needing two late goals to force extra time in the second leg. The match finished 0-0, with Swansea progressing to the final 2-0 on aggregate. Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar wrote on Twitter: "I'm not saying it's the correct thing 2 do but when in the heat of the moment u just want the ball."

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