Soccer player Eden Hazard kicks at ball boy who is smothering ball - What?

Story and video here.

Is soccer a sport where a ball boy can play games about returning the ball? What the hell was this kid doing?

The kid was being stupid, although that’s obviously no excuse for the player to kick him. He could and should get a long ban for that. Apparently Chelsea invited the boy into their dressing room so Hazard could apologise to him, and the boy apologised to the player as well.

Wait a minute. While I hate Chelsea with the heat of a thousand suns, what the kid was doing deserved a good kick in the ribs. Problem is that Hazard can’t be doing it. Integral to the role of a ball boy is not to fuck with the game.

Disagree. It wasn’t a friendly pickup game.

Wouldn’t the Ref have realized that the ball boy was pruposely wasting time, and simply extended the overtime?

I’ve seen rugby league ball boys being dicks, but mostly they come to attention because they’re piss farting around instead of paying attention to the only job they’ve got.

I liked the way he was rolling around, grabbing his ribs and grimacing after Hazard tapped him with his foot. Definitely a future soccer player!

If you watch the video at ESPN.com, it goes immediately to a English Sportscenter type show, where 4 guys are talking about it. Hilarious. The 1st guy even says he would have done the same thing.

As it was, they got 6 minutes of added time in large part thanks to the protracted nature of Hazard’s sending off. That’s about as much as you ever see barring something calamitous like bone coming through someone’s leg or the right back being eaten by weasels.

The ballboy acted like an ass and hammed the whole thing up, but that doesn’t excuse Hazard’s actions. First of all, that’s what added time is for; the professional soccer player doesn’t need to wrestle with some teenager. Second of all, wasn’t it going to be a Swansea goal kick anyway? So instead of the ballboy wasting time, it would have just been Swansea’s goalkeeper wasting even more time.

I was watching this as it happened, oddly enough. First time I’ve watched a whole Premiership (or League, or whatever) match. Anyway, it really seemed like Hazard was kicking the ball, not the boy, though he may have made incidental contact with his body. It should really be a sending off, but nothing more. If anything, the dirtiest part was where Hazard more or less jumped on the ball-boy just as he was picking up the ball. (ETA: look up the incident on YouTube — there’s another angle that shows the ball bouncing away when Hazard kicks it, as well as the original contact.)

Also, the kid actually has a Twitter, where he joked before the game about wasting time in the game.

Missed the edit: sorry, I didn’t notice that the article mentions the ball-boy’s twitter.

Ball boys are on message not to rush to give the ball back to the away side when they’re losing, IME. Subtly though, never seen anything like that where the lad is laying on the ball.

Hopefully the FA will agree Hazard was kicking the ball and leave it at a 3 match ban. If it’s decided that he’s actually kicked the kid with bad intentions, though, then he will get absolutely hammered. Given precedents like Di Canio got something like 12 matches for gently pushing the ref over, or Cantona got similar for kicking a fan who had legged it down the stand to hurl abuse at him.

A 12 match suspension when the other team was deliberately cheating??

I’m on the side of Hazard. The ball boy was intentionally delaying the match, purely in order to benefit the other team. It’s not like he was just being slow; this was clearly a deliberate act going way out of his way to impede Hazard and stop play. There’s no way to know whether the referee is going to add extra time for this (and probably not, would be my bet).

What else is Hazard supposed to do, except try and get the ball away? It’s not like the kick was a full wind-up to the head; it was nudging the kid in the ribs to say “Come on, time to go already.” If you can’t take a nudge like that, maybe you shouldn’t be deliberately lying on top of balls that are supposed to be back in play in a major-league soccer playoff.

Frankly, I think Swansea should be penalized. The ballboy is their responsibility, and he deliberately and blatantly cheated to help Swansea.

Once upon a time there was only one ball in a match and it was expected that if it went into the crowd its return would be delayed by the supporters if they thought it convenient for their side.

They are required to add on time to make up for timewasting.

Ball boys aren’t there to be kicked, “major league soccer playoff” or not.

Incidentally, it was a cup match, the second leg of the League Cup semi-final, not a league match or a playoff or a premiership match, although both teams happened to be premiership teams.

Some of the rhetoric here is sailing dangerously close to “blame the victim” in tone. Shall we take this to its logical extension and apply it to matters less frivolous than a football match? Or we could just stay in the realm of what would be assault if committed on the street?

There is provision for dealing with matters such as this in the Laws of the Game. As has already been pointed out, time is added on at the end of the game if time wasting is employed. People can also be ejected from grounds by stewards (or if needs be) the police at the say so of the referee. The answer to the question of what Hazard should have done is to complain to the ref and try to get something done about it. It is not take a kick at someone - light tap, full wind up, to the ribs or to the head, it doesn’t matter. You play to the rules and the rules allow for you to be sent off for violent conduct against anyone during the game, not just members of the opposition.

The ballboy is in the wrong and Hazard was likely frustrated and not thinking clearly. But it doesn’t mean that Hazard shouldn’t have received a red card. He should have done and he got what he deserved by the rules of the game he is playing.

All I can say is - lesson learned.

The player should have kept his cool and I’ve read that if he’d just drawn the officials’ attention to this ridiculous stalling, they would have gotten the extra time back anyway. It doesn’t sound like it was much of a kick either, if it was one at all, and the ballboy really was screwing around and try to cheat for his team. So even though the player was wrong I can’t say the ballboy didn’t deserve a swift kick in the ass.

I was surprised to learn that this kind of stalling by ball boys goes on. Both my kids have been ball boys and I would have supported a player kicking them in the ass if they did something like this. The red card was still deserved but someone should look into what the heck ball boys are doing. Their actions should be invisible.

“Playoff” is the US term for an elimination tournament (though there’s no equivalent here for a competition that solely consists of a single-elimination tournament), so in that sense the usage was sort of correct.

Ball boys absolutely shouldn’t become part of the game. He was stalling on purpose and afterwards he was rolling around with his hand in the air in a performance that even a great thespian such as Drogba would’ve been proud of. Silly by Hazard though, the sending off was right, but a lengthy ban would be wrong.

Apparently the kid tweeted before the game about how he was going to make a scene.