VIDEO: Is this the new camera angle that clears Chelsea’s Hazard? New footage appears to support star’s claim he kicked the ball and not the ballboy
A new camera angle has emerged from the Liberty Stadium which appears to show Eden Hazard kicked the ball from beneath ball boy Charlie Morgan, rather than make contact with the grounded 17-year-old.
Chelsea ace Hazard has come under fire from football authorities in England and in his homeland of Belgium after his ugly tussle during Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup semi-final clash.
The forward was sent off by referee Chris Foy after he lost patience during the closing stages of the Blues defeat when Morgan refused to hand over the ball after it had gone out for a goal kick.
The ball boy writhed in agony on the floor after the incident and was tended to by his colleagues apparently in plenty of pain.
However, footage from an alternative angle seems to back up the player’s reasoning after the match that he had in fact made contact with the ball.
Regardless, the fallout from the incident has left a mark on the £32million man’s reputation.
The boss of Belgium’s football association said Hazard must learn to control himself. It is not the first time the former Lille player’s frustrations have got the better of him – in 2011 he stormed out of the stadium after being substituted during a Euro 2012 qualifier for Belgium and was filmed tucking into a burger from a van outside.
Helping hand: Chelsea’s Demba Ba (right) checks on the ball boy after he had clashed with Eden Hazard
Steven Martens, the chief executive of the Belgian FA (KBVB) said: ‘It’s unfortunate and of course it’s not something we are proud of. No football authority or person interested in football likes to see acts of violence or lack of respect and this is what happened.
‘It might have happened in the heat of the fire but professionals are expected to be able to control themselves.
‘They have to be able to control their emotions and when they don’t that’s unpleasant in general.
‘Of course as we are the Belgium FA we don’t like it to be a Belgium national squad player but I am very much convinced that Eden himself will realise that.
‘Eden is more than intelligent enough to understand that this is going to be a lesson learned for him. All of us make mistakes in life.’
Martens, speaking at a meeting of UEFA’s 53 member associations in Nyon, said Hazard’s frustration was perhaps a reflection of the intense pressure on his shoulders.
He added: ‘It is easy to judge from outside but you also have to see it from the player’s side too.
‘I have been a professional sports coach for many years and the demands on athletes and players are there day-in, day-out.
‘Yes we think these guys are well-paid and have a luxury life but on the other hand there is an expectation on them all the time. ‘It’s not an excuse but it is something that could help us try to understand.’
While the boss of Belgium’s football association was damning of Hazard, the Chelsea forward found a supporter in Pat Nevin.
Wealthy: Charlie Morgan (left), the ball boy who was kicked by Eden Hazard during a League Cup game last night, is the son of multi-millionaire businessman Martin Morgan (right)
The former Chelsea winger claimed he would have done the same as Hazard if he had been involved in the controversial ball-boy incident at Swansea.
When asked how he would have reacted to the situation, Nevin told BBC Radio 5: ‘I would have kicked the ball out from underneath the ball boy if he had been lying like that, 100 per cent.’
And Nevin also criticised the behaviour of 17-year-old Morgan, branding it ‘disgraceful’. 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 ball boy at the centre of the storm Charlie Morgan is the son of hotel and property tycoon Martin Morgan, said to be the 32nd richest person in Wales.
Morgan is on the the Swansea board of directors – which is how Charlie ended up as a ballboy for the League Cup semi-final against the Londoners.
‘He’s mad about Swansea City – what he did was a bit foolish especially after be boasted he was going to time waste. I guess he’s been a bit spoiled because his dad’s got pots of money.’
In posts on Twitter Charlie brags about drinking Veuve Clicquot champagne and going on holiday to Las Vegas and Dubai.
Swansea are highly unlikely to take any action against Morgan for his part in the ugly clash – and the club has rubbished claims that their ball boys were ordered to give them an unfair advantage in the Capital One Cup clash.
Morgan has been widely accused of deliberately withholding the ball, a stance seemingly supported by his posts on Twitter earlier in the day.
The club refused to comment when asked to explain the decision, but Swansea vice-chairman Leigh Dineen reiterated Michael Laudrup’s assertion that their ball boys were not briefed to favour the home side.
Dineen told the Guardian: ‘There was no agenda, absolutely not. Stoke, a few years ago, would get the ballboy to wipe the ball down for a long throw and that was something the ballboys were obviously told to do. But certainly we don’t line up the ballboys and ask them to waste time. Definitely not.’
A club spokesman added that Morgan, who started his role aged 12 in 2008, ‘has been a ballboy for about six seasons and there’s never been a complaint before’.
The FA have also confirmed they will be taking no action against Swansea over the incident, while South Wales Police are not pursuing the case as Morgan declined to press charges.
The FA are reviewing footage of the action, but Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor does not believe Hazard should face additional punishment.
Hurt: The ballboy (centre) is ushered away from the sidelines following the incident with Eden Hazard
He said: ‘There is obviously a process which the FA have to go through and it is up to them what they decide. ‘But I don’t think the young lad involved would want to see Hazard punished further.
‘The referee made the correct decision on the night and you do not want people to be hung, drawn and quartered for things that happen in the heat of the moment.
‘It is disappointing and Hazard has shown remorse and the two clubs handled the matter very well.
‘It will be seen as another stick to beat the game with, but the game has always been about passion and emotions running high and it is a shame for this to overshadow the wonderful achievements of Swansea and Bradford – two clubs who have faced extinction – in reaching the final.’
Coach Alan Curtis also insisted the ball boys were not told to waste time.
He said: ‘We never gave them any instructions whatsoever to slow the game down. It’s never ever been the case at all. It was a really unfortunate situation.
‘I’ve got to be honest though, if I had been the player, I would have tried to get the ball back as quickly as possible.
‘Unfortunately it’s been blown up to be a major incident. It was quickly defused straight after the game. They met up after the game and shook hands, both apologised and, as far as we’re concerned, that is the end of it.
‘It’s a shame that it’s overshadowed everything.’
Meanwhile, Fulham boss Martin Jol has accused Morgan of ‘playing rugby’ against Chelsea and said he could understand Hazard kicking out at the teenager.
Jol said: ‘Our ball boys are between 10 and 12 years of age. I saw he (Morgan) was probably over-age, probably 21. A big boy, you know? Six foot, maybe?
‘I felt for Hazard, but you can’t kick people. He (the ball boy) was playing rugby with him, so I can understand he wanted to get the ball.
‘We always tell coaches to tell the ball boys to give the ball back as soon as possible. To do it quick; and not to irritate people.
‘Of course you could say Eden should have controlled himself, but it was bizarre. The ball boy shouldn’t lie on the ball and play rugby with it.
‘He (Hazard) should have controlled himself, but I can see why he did it. I’m not allowed to say I would have done the same so, of course, I would not have done that.’