Eden Hazard, Chelsea's star winger, was sent off rather controversially during Chelsea's visit to the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday.
The Belgian international appeared to kick the ribs of Swansea ball-boy Charlie Morgan, during the Blues' scoreless draw in Wales, which sent Chelsea crashing out of the Capital One Cup.
However, other angles and accounts show otherwise. From an alternative angle, it appears that Hazard had actually poked the ball through the arms of the 17-year-old school boy, after he had decided to lie on the ball, deliberately wasting time. Morgan then complained of a kick to the ribs as Hazard gave the ball back to Swansea keeper Gerhard Tremmel. However, Morgan has stated that the injury was in fact, faked.
Demba Ba tended to him as he complained of the injury. Subsequently, on a night that was going badly for the west London club, Hazard was sent off for 'attacking' Morgan, much to the dismay of the Chelsea players and fans.
After the match, Charlie was invited into the Chelsea dressing room, where Hazard apologised and he accepted what he did was wrong. Chelsea Interim boss Rafael Benitez, stated to Sky Sports presenters after the match that Charlie had also accepted Hazard's apologies. Swansea manager told the press that he believed both parties were in the wrong, but Hazard more so.
Swansea City, according to the BBC, will not place any charges against Hazard. South Wales police also say that they have not received any complaints over the alleged assault. Chelsea released a statement on their website, saying that Hazard's actions would not go unpunished, but that he is profoundly sorry for his actions.
A deeper look into the matters saw Charlie's Twitter full of tweets that show before the match that he wanted to waste time. Many footballers on Twitter have come out in support of the Belgian international, but still saying that both parties were in the wrong.
PFA Chairman Gordon Taylor released a statement criticising Hazard, stating he should not have "taken the laws into his own hands" and was wrong to do what he did. Meanwhile, former Chelsea defender Pat Nevin said that Hazard should not be blamed entirely. Many neutral fans have also supported Hazard, whilst condemning him for his actions.
It is unlikely, due to the circumstances, that Hazard will receive any further punishment than the red card. The incident has raised controversy reminiscent of Eric Cantona's assault on a fan, which saw the French star banned for eight months and fined £20,000.
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