Hazardous behaviour drags Chelsea into spotlight again
Published: 25.01.13 / Written by: David Gold
Eden Hazardís kick at a ball boy during Chelseaís League Cup semi final defeat to Swansea City was nothing short of shameful.
The Belgianís decision to kick out at the youngster was ill judged and silly. He will now receive a long ban from the Football Association, and rightly so. A message must be sent out. To lose control in such a manner is clearly unacceptable.
That is not to say that Hazardís frustration was not understandable. Chasing a crucial goal in the tie, he ran over to get the ball back into play quickly and the cocksure ball boy, who had boasted on Twitter earlier that he had been brought back for time wasting, obstructed Hazardís attempt to retrieve the ball. Then ensued a farcical scene where the ball boy could be seen to lie on top of the ball as Hazard tries to kick it away from underneath him. They were both equally idiotic. The difference is that Hazard was actually participating in a game of football and any display of violent conduct is enough to get you sent off. Therefore it was stupid. He is also a role model, and a better standard of behaviour is expected of him.
So it is that Chelsea are dragged through the mud again. Their Twitter account tweeted its frustration and indignation at the decision initially, before later withdrawing it as the club looked to prevent another PR sham from unravelling before their eyes. After the scandals, the interns being shot by first team players, their captain standing in court defending himself against racism charges and a completely false accusation of racism against an innocent referee, Chelsea realised they needed to calm the situation this time before it went out of control. Good that someone kept his head. If only Hazard had kept his.
But it does raise the question that does this behaviour happen because of the culture at the club? Chelsea are repeatedly involved in the same types of dramas, and if any club is a symbol of what is wrong with the game, it is the West Londoners. The sacking of Roberto di Matteo earlier this season was shameful and ridiculous enough. This is a club who need to rebuild their image and fast.
Hazard will recover from this quickly. He is young, determined and enthusiastic. He is also one of the most gifted young players in the game. He can recover and put this behind him, and go on to burgeon his reputation as one of the worldís best players. For Chelsea, the situation is far more worrying. Their reputation is being dragged so deep into the mud that it may soon become impossible to wipe the smears and dirt away from their name.