Swansea ball boy: Police continue to investigate

 
Ball Ball boy lies on the ground during the incident at the Liberty Stadium

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Police are continuing to investigate the kicking of a Swansea City ball boy by Chelsea's Eden Hazard during the Capital One Cup semi-final.

South Wales Police said Charlie Morgan, 17, son of club director Martin Morgan, did not want to make a formal complaint.

But officers have confirmed three calls from members of the public are being followed up.

Hazard was sent off for the incident at the Liberty Stadium but did apologise.

Swansea beat Chelsea 2-0 on aggregate and will face Bradford City in the final at Wembley on 24 February.

The incident, which happened in the last 10 minutes of the match, has prompted debate among football fans, players and pundits.

Start Quote

What Hazard did was very wrong, he clearly lost it”

End Quote Garth Crooks BBC pundit

Police said calls had been received from "members of the public living in Sussex, Kent and west Wales which are being followed up".

Chelsea needed to score twice to take the game into extra time and it appeared Hazard lost his patience with Mr Morgan after the ball had gone out of play for a goal-kick.

'They both talked'

The teenager fell to the ground as Hazard attempted to get the ball from him with the Blues midfielder then trying to kick it from under him but instead he appeared to make contact with the youngster.

Immediately after the incident Chelsea and Swansea players went to tend to Mr Morgan, who was left holding his ribs, before referee Chris Foy produced a red card.

A South Wales Police spokesperson said: "South Wales Police can confirm that the Swansea City ball boy has been interviewed in the presence of his father and no complaint has been made.

"The ball boy did not sustain any injuries."

The saga has sparked widespread debate and Mr Morgan's Twitter account attracted thousands of new followers.

Football fans and pundits have been debating the rights and wrongs of the incident

One pre-match tweet on his account reads: "The king of all ball boys is back making his final appearance #needed #for #timewasting.".

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin has claimed he would have done the same as Hazard telling BBC Radio 5: "I was very, very disappointed by the way the ball boy acted, and I say 'acted'."

But commentator and former player Garth Crooks told BBC Radio Wales that "what Hazard did was very wrong, he clearly lost it".

And Swans vice-chairman Leigh Dineen backed Mr Morgan.

"The boy went to pick up the ball and he fell over. He didn't hold on to the ball for a minute; it happened over about 20 seconds," he said.

"Had it been 2-0 to Chelsea, I don't think Hazard would have been anywhere near the ball. But I don't think Hazard deliberately went to kick him.

Start Quote

I was very, very disappointed by the way the ball boy acted, and I say 'acted'”

End Quote Pat Nevin Former Chelsea winger

"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."

After Wednesday's game Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez said that Hazard and the ball boy had exchanged apologies in the dressing room after the match.

"They apologised to each other," he said. "They both talked. The boy knows he was wasting time. Hazard was frustrated and trying to get the ball back.

"We can not change the situation. We are disappointed because we lost a player. The best thing for us is to move forward."

Hazard later told Chelsea TV: "The boy put his whole body on to the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball.

"I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologise."

'Frustrations'

Swansea said Mr Morgan has worked at the Liberty Stadium for six years and the matter was closed after he met with Hazard.

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup said he expected Hazard would regret the incident when he viewed it on television.

Laudrup denied the club had given the ball boys instructions to hold onto the ball when it went out of play.

"I completely understand the player was frustrated because his team is behind and the ball boy should have given away the ball," he said.

"But again there are things you can never do, you can't kick another person or a boy like that."

Next month's final will be Swansea's first major cup final in their 100-year history.

Meanwhile, three Chelsea supporters were arrested before last night's match for possessing flares following a joint operation between South Wales Police and Swansea City.

 

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