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Pat Nevin blames ballboy in Chelsea red card row

Former Scotland international Pat Nevin today blamed a ballboy for his role in an English cup tie which saw a Chelsea star sent off.

Eden Hazard is sent off

The Belgian international forward Eden Hazard kicked at the ballboy who was refusing to give him back the ball as Chelsea desperately tried to retrieve the Capital One Cup semi-final against Swansea last night.

Hazard was sent off with 10 minutes to go and Chelsea lost 2-0 on aggregate to send Swansea through to the cup final against Bradford at Wembley.

Police said overnight that Hazard will not face criminal charges and both he and the ballboy have apologised, the two clubs said.

But Nevin, now a leading TV and radio commentator, this morning launched an angry attack on the ballboy for over-reacting.

He also said that, in his former role as head of the Professional Footballers' Association, he would have been calling for a ban on ballboys if such behaviour could not be stopped.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast TV, Nevin, a former Chelsea player, also attacked the footage of the incident being shown by the broadcaster during the interview with him.

Nevin told BBC Radio: "I'm very, very disappointed with how the ball boy acted. I say acted, he must have watched footballers the way he rolled around pretending to be more injured.

"He's only got one job and that's to give the ball back. What does he do? He keeps the ball.

"He's 17 not 12 or 13. He should know what his actions are like in this situation.

"We're actually going to have to get rid of ball boys - that's a real sadness. I would have kicked the ball out from under the ball boy - 100%. Sorry, I know that's not very right-on."

South Wales Police said they have spoken to the 17-year-old boy - who did not sustain injuries - and his father and no complaint has been made.

A spokesman for South Wales Police 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 ballboy did not sustain any injuries."

The ball boy, understood to be 17-year-old Charlie Morgan, appears to have taken part in the match with the intention of time wasting, boasting about his plans on Twitter before the game.

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

It is not known whether he was questioned by police about his Twitter boast or whether it was known at the time.

Fans on some media forums have questioned the ball boy's reaction.

Since the incident last night, the college student has gained more than 77,000 followers on Twitter - although not all are supportive.

Scores of football fans lambasted the ballboy on the social networking site, with user Matt Craig tweeting: "Just saw Hazard red card, to be honest the ballboy deserved it."

Others leapt to his defence, with user Lewis Payne saying the youngster had "done exactly what (former Chelsea player) Drogba was doing for 5 years".

Natalie Taylor wrote: "Hazard kicking a ball boy. No excuse. All ball boys are told to slow the game if the home side are winning."

But Swans fan James Hopkin noted: "So, its the first time in our 100 year history that we make the final and Charlie Morgan steals all the attention!"

Next month's Capital One Cup final will be Swansea's first major final in their 100-year history but the achievement was overshadowed by the moment of madness from Hazard.

With just over 10 minutes remaining and Chelsea needing to score twice to take the tie to extra-time, he lost patience when the ballboy refused to hand over the ball after it had gone out of play for a goal-kick.

The ballboy 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 instead he appeared to make contact with the youngster.

Several Chelsea players went to tend to the ballboy, who was left holding his ribs, before referee Chris Foy produced a red card.

After the 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."

A Swansea spokesman confirmed no action would be taken, and that Chelsea had invited the 17-year-old, who has been a ballboy at the Liberty Stadium for six years, into their dressing room.

He said: "The ballboy has been into the Chelsea dressing room after the game and shaken hands with Eden Hazard. The likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard were exemplary in their behaviour in welcoming him into the dressing room.

"Chelsea asked if he could come in and our kit lady took him in and they shook hands, he is fine.

"As far as we are concerned the matter is closed. He has been a ball boy here for six years with no incidents here at the stadium."

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

"I saw it from a very big distance from the bench," he said.

"I've since seen it after the game. Hazard is a great player. When he sees the images I think he will regret it."

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

"No, no. Definitely not," he said.

"I think he was pushed and on top of the ball. I can understand all the frustrations when you are behind."

Elsewhere on Twitter today, teenager Charlie was more the subject of mockery for his actions than celebration.

Some were evidently happy he was, effectively, responsible for a Chelsea star being sent off. Many simply poked fun at him.

Matt Rich tweeted: "Someone give Charlie Morgan an Oscar."

John Jordan wrote: "That's the funniest thing I've ever seen... Charlie morgan getting eden hazard sent off...priceless."

Junno T tweeted: "Charlie Morgan, have you had an accident at work that wasn't your fault?"

Andy Roberts wrote: "BREAKING: Roman Abramovich has placed a £50 million bid for Charlie Morgan to act as replacement for Didier Drogba."

While Curtis Macleod tweeted: "Do you reckon Charlie Morgan gets a kick out of being a ball boy?"

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