May 24 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, January 24, 2013
The ball boy who sparked a furious reaction from Chelsea football star Eden Hazard boasted of time wasting on Twitter before the match, it emerged today.
Chelsea forward Hazard has avoided criminal charges for apparently kicking the ball-boy during his side’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Swansea City last night.
Tempers flared in the final minutes of the second-leg match with Chelsea trailing 0-2 on aggregate, when the teenage ball-boy refused to return an out of play ball.
He was seen to be kicked by the Belgian player after refusing to give him the ball, and Hazard was sent off.
But the ball boy, understood to be 17-year-old Charlie Morgan, appears to have taken part in the match with the intention of time wasting.
One pre-match tweet on his account reads: “The king of all ball boys is back making his final appearance #needed #for #timewasting.”
Hazard and the teenager were interviewed by South Wales Police in the aftermath of the incident.
The ball boy, who was uninjured, was interviewed by officers in the presence of his father and made no complaint about what happened.
It is not known whether he was questioned about his Twitter boast or whether it was known at the time.
Fans on some media forums have questioned the ball boy’s reaction.
Yahoo Answers is running an open question on the subject this morning to stimulate debate on one of the day’s hottest topics.
“If the ballboy planned to timewaste, why do people assume he wasn’t faking being kicked in the ribs?” it asks.
It goes on to state: “On Twitter before the match he announced that he planned to timewaste. If he planned to do that, isn’t he just as capable of pretending to be kicked in the ribs to help Swansea out?
“The main thing that makes me think he wasn’t kicked is how Hazard runs after the ball straight after, surely if he did kick the boy in the ribs, he’d stop and be apprehensive about his next move.”
Since the incident last night, the college student has gained more than 83,000 followers on Twitter - although not all are supportive.
Scores of football fans lambasted the Swans ball boy on the social networking site, with site user Matt Craig tweeting: “Just saw Hazard red card, to be honest the ball boy deserved it.”
Others leapt to his defence, with Twitter user Lewis Payne saying the youngster had “done exactly what [former Chelsea player] Drogba was doing for 5 years”.
Natalie Taylor wrote: “Hazard kicking a ball boy. No excuse. All ball boys are told to slow the game if the home side are winning.”
But Swans fan James Hopkin noted: “So, its the first time in our 100 year history that we make the final and Charlie Morgan steals all the attention!”
Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez said the ball-boy and the Chelsea star exchanged apologies in the dressing room after the match.
“They apologised to each other,” Benitez said. “They both talked. The boy knows he was wasting time. Hazard was frustrated and trying to get the ball back.
“We cannot change the situation. We are disappointed because we lost a player. The best thing for us is to move forward.”
A Swansea spokesman confirmed no action would be taken, and that Chelsea had invited the 17-year-old, who has been a ball-boy at the Liberty Stadium for six years, into their dressing room.
He said: “The ball-boy has been into the Chelsea dressing room after the game and shaken hands with Eden Hazard. The likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard were exemplary in their behaviour in welcoming him into the dressing room.
“Chelsea asked if he could come in and our kit lady took him in and they shook hands. He is fine.
“As far as we are concerned the matter is closed. He has been a ball boy here for six years with no incidents here at the stadium.”
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup said he expected Hazard would regret the incident when he viewed it on television.
“I saw it from a very big distance from the bench,” he said.
“I’ve since seen it after the game. Hazard is a great player. When he sees the images I think he will regret it.”
Laudrup denied the club had given the ball boys instructions to hold on to the ball when it went out of play.
“No, no. Definitely not,” he said.
“I think he was pushed and on top of the ball. I can understand all the frustrations when you are behind.”
Elsewhere on Twitter today, teenager Charlie was more the subject of mockery for his actions than celebration.
Some were evidently happy he was, effectively, responsible for a Chelsea star being sent off. Many simply poked fun at him.
Matt Rich tweeted: “Someone give Charlie Morgan an Oscar.”
John Jordan wrote: “That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen... Charlie morgan getting eden hazard sent off...priceless.”
Junno T tweeted: “Charlie Morgan, have you had an accident at work that wasn’t your fault?”
Andy Roberts wrote: “BREAKING: Roman Abramovich has placed a £50 million bid for Charlie Morgan to act as replacement for Didier Drogba.”
While Curtis Macleod tweeted: “Do you reckon Charlie Morgan gets a kick out of being a ball boy?”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he believed both the player and the ball boy were at fault.
Asked about the controversy during his weekly phone-in on LBC Radio, he said: “My early judgment is, this is going to sound like painful fence-sitting, but I think they are both at fault.
“Hazard absolutely should not have done what he did, that was absolutely out of order. Benitez has been clear on that. But the ball boy did seem to kind of cover the ball, which is frustrating for a player.”