CHELSEA star Eden Hazard was accused of shaming Belgium and faced the renewed threat of police action last night for appearing to kick a ball boy in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup exit at Swansea.
Football Association chiefs, however, were still deciding whether the £32m midfielder’s actions warrant increasing the three-match ban automatically triggered by his red card for violent conduct.
Belgian football’s chief executive Steven Martens declared himself “not proud” of the 22-year-old’s altercation with the teenage ball boy, which he branded “unpleasant”.
“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,” said Martens.
“Professionals have to be able to control their emotions and when they don’t that’s unpleasant in general. But 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.”
South Wales Police have reopened their investigation into the clash after receiving three complaints from members of the public.
The case had previously been considered closed after the ball boy, 17-year-old Charlie Morgan, the son of a Swansea director, told officers he did not wish to pursue the matter.
Chelsea captain John Terry’s criminal trial for alleged racism towards Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand, in which he was acquitted last year, arose only after a member of the public complained to police.
The FA spent yesterday scrutinising video recordings of the semi-final as they ponder whether to take further action against the former Lille player.
Hazard has argued that he was trying to kick the ball free from under the boy, who was lying over it. He appeared to connect with the youth, who then clutched his ribs.
Chelsea would be entitled to appeal any charge, and Hazard, who had never been sent off before, apologised both to the boy and publicly immediately after the match.
Players’ union chief Gordon Taylor condemned Hazard but called for a measured response.
“You can’t take the law into your own hands,” said Taylor, chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association. “He lost his head, his actions were unacceptable and the referee had no alternative. He made the correct decision but you do not want people to be hung, drawn and quartered for things that happen in the heat of the moment.”