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The smothering ball-boy and the toe-poking footballer – the lessons to be learned

2013 January 24
by Paul Vallely

The world of football is divided over whether or not the Chelsea international Eden Hazard should have been sent off after the bizarre incident in which he kicked out at a ball-boy who had covered the ball with his body instead of returning it speedily to play. Apologists insist he was trying to kick the ball not the boy; critics are demanding his automatic three-match ban should be extended, as was Eric Cantona’s when he kicked a fan some years back. Cantona was banned for eight months.

 What will perhaps shock the rest of society more is the disclosure that ball-boys routinely cheat by passing their ball quickly to the home team and dallying over assisting their opponents.  Indeed the ball-boy in question, one Charlie Morgan, actually boasted of this fact on Twitter ahead of the game.

 That is not all they have learned from their role models on the pitch. The ball-boy at Swansea hammed up the incident with much melodramatic grimacing and rolling on the ground. Perhaps the Football Association should indeed impose an additional punishment on the felicitously-named Mr Hazard; they could require the footballer to pay for some drama lessons to improve the ball-boy’s woeful acting skills.

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