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Pat Nevin defends Hazard behaviour in kicking a ball boy against Swansea

Updated: Thursday, 24 Jan 2013 13:24 | Comments

Eden Hazard could face a longer suspension from the English FA
Eden Hazard could face a longer suspension from the English FA

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin has claimed he would have done the same as Eden Hazard if he had been involved in the controversial ball-boy incident at Swansea.

The Belgium international was dismissed by referee Chris Foy after he lost patience in last night's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg match in south Wales as ball boy Charlie Morgan refused to hand over the ball after it had gone out of play for a goal-kick.

Morgan fell to the ground as Hazard attempted to get the ball from him, with the Blues forward then trying to kick it from under him but appearing to instead make contact with the youngster.

When asked how he would have reacted to the situation, former Scotland international Nevin told BBC Radio Five: "I would have kicked the ball out from underneath the ball boy if he had been lying like that, 100 per cent."

And Nevin also criticised the behaviour of 17-year-old Morgan, branding it "disgraceful".

He added: "I was very, very disappointed by the way the ball boy acted, and I say 'acted'.

"He must have been watching footballers, the way he rolled around and pretended to be more injured.

"He only has one job and his job is to go and give the ball back, and what did he do? He keeps the ball.

"I have to say I was absolutely amazed this morning to find he is 17, not 12, not 13.

"He should know what his action should be in that situation. His behaviour was disgraceful."

"I have to say I was absolutely amazed this morning to find he is 17, not 12, not 13 - Pat Nevin

There has been criticism of Foy for his dismissal of Hazard, but former Premier League official Dermot Gallagher praised his handling of a difficult situation.

He said: "The referee has taken the correct action, It's against the laws of the game to commit violent conduct on anyone under the jurisdiction of the game.

"I can't reinforce how switched on the officials were. It would have been so easy for the assistant referee not to pick that (incident) up - but he did."

Gallagher continued: "There's no defence for that. Someone said it was borne out of frustration but you have to accept it. I don't want to see it again.

"It was an extreme but you can't have that at a football match. It's been addressed - and the action which has been taken is strong and correct."

Swansea vice-chairman Leigh Dineen, meanwhile, placed the blame squarely at the door of the Chelsea man.

"You can't kick out at anybody. I don't think you can do that. If it was done on the field of play, there would be plenty of questions to be answered," he said.

The incident overshadowed Swansea's achievement of reaching their first major cup final in their centenary season, just 10 years after being bottom of the Football League.

But Dineen was able to see the lighter side of events at the Liberty Stadium, joking that Swansea may consider taking their own ball boys to the Wembley final.

"If we need to," he said. I am sure Wembley will have their own."

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