In football, ball boys go relatively unnoticed.
After all, their job isn’t particularly a difficult one: throw the ball to player after it has gone out of play. Pretty straightforward, right?
But in recent years, there have been several controversial incidents involving ball boys - most of which involve Jose Mourinho.
It was Mourinho’s former club that was first involved in a serious incident concerning a ball boy.
During Chelsea’s League Cup semi-final against Swansea in January 2013, Eden Hazard was sent off for trying to get the ball off a ball boy as he attempted to waste time. The Belgian tried to prod the ball with his toe as 17-year-old Charlie Morgan laid on it but he resulted in kicking him in the ribs and was promptly sent off.
Then, in March 2014, Jose Mourinho avoided punishment when he was in charge of the Blues after walking over to tell a ball boy at Crystal Palace that he would get “punched” by one of the players if he continued to time waste.
Then, this season, Mourinho replaced the original ball boys - which were provided by the Manchester United Foundation - with players from the academy for their clash against Liverpool as he believed they would be quicker.
There is more to being ball boy that we originally thought, it seems.
And this week, another controversial incident occurred.
During Plymouth’s clash with Leyton Orient in League Two, Orient captain Liam Kelly was caught shoving a ball boy to the ground during his side’s 3-2 victory at Home Park.
The incident was not seen by match officials and Kelly wasn’t punished. However, the Football Association have now charged the midfielder for his actions.
At the time, Orient were 2-1 down and Kelly clearly wanted his side to take a quick corner. Despite the ball boy looking as though he was going to throw the ball towards the corner, the skipper gave his a push which sent him to the floor.
Take a look:
Orient went on to win the match 3-2 thanks to two late goals.
An FA statement read: "It is alleged (Kelly) committed an act of violent conduct in the 86th minute which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video, contrary to Rule E3.
"Furthermore, The FA has submitted a claim that the standard punishment for this alleged offence would be clearly insufficient.”
If found guilty, it's believed Kelly could face a lengthy ban.
Immediately after the match, Plymouth issued a statement on their website calling for Kelly to be punished for his behaviour.
It read: "During Tuesday night's match against Leyton Orient one of our ball-boys was shoved to the ground by Orient captain Liam Kelly.
"We have reviewed videos of the incident and we regard any physical or oral assault against our ball-boys, or any representative of Argyle, to be utterly unacceptable. We have reported the incident to the FA for them to take the appropriate action.
"We are glad to say that the ball-boy, although shocked by the incident, is otherwise okay and we thank the Green Army, on his behalf, for their concerns."
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