Eden Hazard, Chelsea's young midfielder, has been charged with violent conduct by the English Premier League's governing body and faces a lengthy suspension for kicking a ball boy (see video) during a League Cup semifinal game on Wednesday.
The Football Assn. said the 21-year-old winger from Belgium has until Tuesday to respond to the violent-conduct charge, which carries a minimum three-game suspension, although the governing body said the standard penalty was "clearly insufficient" in this case.
Hazard was given a red card during a 0-0 draw against Swansea City when he chased down a ball boy who was trying to retrieve a ball that had gone out of bounds across the end line. Hazard bumped the ball boy, who fell on top of the ball.
When the teenager, 17-year-old Charlie Morgan, didn't promptly roll over and give up the ball, Hazard kicked him in the ribs.
A statement from the FA read in part:
"It is alleged that Hazard's behaviour in relation to a Swansea ball boy, for which the player was dismissed in the 78th minute, constituted violent conduct whereby the standard punishment that would otherwise apply was clearly insufficient.
"The FA will remind all clubs of their responsibilities in ensuring ball boys and other personnel around the pitch act in an appropriate manner at all times and will liaise with competitions accordingly."
Hazard and Morgan exchanged apologies following the match and a discussion with police. Morgan's family said they will not press charges.
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