Experts give verdict on Eden Hazard's red card for lashing out at Swansea ballboy
Last Updated: January 24, 2013 3:46pm
Kerry Dixon (Chelsea striker, 1983-1992)
"It's an unfortunate incident without a shadow of a doubt and Hazard will, this morning, regret getting involved in the first place. I don't think either party comes out of it very well and I also don't think for one moment that Hazard meant to injure the young lad at all. He was trying to retrieve the ball and with his team losing in that situation you can understand his frustration. It was possible time-wasting by the young lad, but it isn't the way to go about things. He got his punishment on the field and I personally hope that is as far as it goes. It's nice to see that both parties have apologised to each other, I think that was important, and I'm glad to see the young man wasn't injured in that particular incident.
"I wouldn't know what the ballboys are told. You can't help but think that possibly, in that situation, a group of ballboys getting ready for a big game will think they can be part of their team going to Wembley. They might just think if the opportunity suits or presents itself then that might be the case. I'm not saying at all that happened in this particular issue and I think most people try and do the right thing, are proud to be ballboys and do the best that they can on the day. It was unfortunate this incident's happened."
Dermot Gallagher, Premier League referee 1992-2007
"It was definitely a red card. It surprised a lot of people because it wasn't a player, but the referee's role is quite clear. He has to control the game and the players involved in the game - and the players involved in the game are under the FA's jurisdiction, and that regards opponents, colleagues and other members of the crowd. We have had precedents for this. Jamie Carragher had a coin thrown on at Highbury and threw it back in the crowd and was sent off; we had Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer famously fighting each other at Newcastle and now we have this with a member of the public, albeit a ballboy.
"We know that a three-match ban is appropriate for violent conduct, but what the FA do then is down to them. I can't condone it; if an assistant referee sees that then he's duty-bound to report it to the referee and the referee, by the laws of the game, is duty-bound to send him off. What you would say is if we were sat here and the referee hadn't sent him off, then we would be talking about a far bigger issue because the referee would not be carrying out his duties. As it is, he has and has been strong, courageous and correct.
"The good thing that's come out of it, if there's any positives, is it just shows how switched on the referees were. The assistant referee has focused on this, he's been aware of what's gone on, he's alerted Chris [Foy, referee] and Chris has taken strong, positive and correct action. If there is any positive to come out of it, it's that the referees were well aware of their duties on the day and followed it through."
Barry Silkman (football agent(
"Eden Hazard has already put out a statement on the Chelsea in-house website and I would tell him to take a back seat. He's done enough, he's said what he needed to say and he should just move on, play football and forget it ever happened.
"Everyone's got to move on, but I'm not sure about him being a ballboy aged 17. It's a bit old; he's more like a ballman than a ballboy isn't he? I think ballboys are normally 12 or 13 years old. Maybe there should be restrictions where maybe they're between the ages of 11 and 15 and after that you can become a bit too much of a supporter to be a ballboy, as such."
Chris Coleman (Swansea City defender, 1986-1991)
"There's two things; you cannot do what the ballboy was doing and lie on the ball for starters. But, in saying that, Hazard cannot give that reaction. He kicks the ball out and it's just frustration from him. You can't do that as a player. The ballboy was lying on the ball and I can't say I've ever seen that, but the reaction from Hazard is not the right one and the referee had no option in the end.
"You can't react like that and Hazard will look back on it and be disappointed. I'm not saying Chelsea would have gone through anyway because it looked like Swansea's night, but unfortunately we're going to be talking about this incident when we should be talking about all the positives from Swansea City and two great cup ties. Unfortunately, football players and football sometimes hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons, whether we like it or not. Sometimes it's warranted and there will be bad headlines tomorrow for something Hazard should not have done. He'll know that himself; it's a bad reaction, as simple as that."
Glenn Hoddle (Chelsea manager, 1993-1996)
"About 10 minutes before a ballboy went very slowly to the ball. The goalkeeper was coming out to take a goal kick and he rolled the ball very slowly. Mark my words, the ballboys will have been told to do that. You can see Frank Lampard talking to the referee and pointing to his watch, so the Chelsea players were aware of it. The ball went off and the ballboy let the ball go past. He was taking his time, Hazard was thinking about getting the ball back quickly and the young lad fell on the ball.
"As a management team, in European games, I know for a fact that you will tell the people that are instructing the ballboys that if you're winning the game, don't get the ball back quickly - and if you're losing the game you want the ballboys on the ball. That's your home advantage, if you like. It's like when teams have a long throw, the home teams will use a towel - and they wouldn't give it to the away team. It happens in football."