When Eden Hazard kicked out at a old Swansea ball boy on Wednesday evening, he was correctly shown a red card by referee Chris Foy. The ball boy had fallen on top of a ball that had gone into touch for a goal kick and attempted to waste precious seconds for his beloved Swans.  At the time, Chelsea was trailing 2-0 on aggregate with only minutes left in the Captial One Cup Semi-Final tie with Swansea. In a moment of frustration and anger, Hazard kicked out at the ball lodged under the teenager, making contact with the young man's ribs in the process.  The incident is currently under investigation by the FA and will likely see the 23 year old Belgian suspended for several matches.



In a strange twist to this story, following Chelsea's loss, denizens of the Internet, led by BBC Five Live pundit Phil Nevin have taken to defending Hazard's actions and condemning the teenager for...well acting like a teenager.  Nevin said, "I would have kicked the ball out from underneath the ball boy if he had been lying like that, 100 per cent." Some now claim that Hazard is the victim of the teen's play-acting and how the incident is reflective of how the beautiful game and the country itself have "gone soft."

This defense has gained momentum in large part thanks to the ball boy's Tweets earlier in the day.  In the moments, following the incident the internet quickly raced to uncover the identity of the teenage ball boy as 17 year old Charlie Morgan, son of Swansea board member Martin Morgan. The self-described "lad" had indicated earlier in the day that he was recalled to ball boy duties and would engage in time wasting.

Following the match, Hazard and Morgan met and apologized to each other.  Despite the childish actions of the ball boy, Hazard's actions were certainly out of line and merit a lengthy suspension simply because of violent conduct. While both sides can and should be held responsible, it was Hazard's rash decision that made this a controversy. The time wasted by the ball boy would have been put back onto the clock in stoppage time, but Hazard's action sealed his team's fate. Swansea police have investigated the incident and determined that no criminal action will be taken.