Hazard charged with violent conduct
Eden Hazard is facing an extended ban for kicking out at a ball boy after the Football Association charged him over his sending-off in Chelsea's Capital One Cup exit at Swansea.
Belgian playmaker Hazard was already set to serve an automatic three-match suspension for his red card in Wednesday night's semi-final second leg at the Liberty Stadium.
But the FA deemed that "insufficient" punishment for the offense, prompting an additional charge Friday afternoon.
An FA statement read: "The FA has charged Chelsea's Eden Hazard following his side's League Cup semi-final at Swansea on January 23, 2013.
"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 player has until 6pm on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 to respond to the charge. 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 was also the subject of a police probe over the incident, which saw him dismissed by referee Chris Foy in the closing stages of Wednesday night's game.
The Belgian lost patience when Swansea ball boy Charlie Morgan refused to hand over the ball after it had gone out for a goal kick. Morgan fell to the ground as Hazard attempted to get the ball from him, with the 22-year-old then kicking it from under him.
Morgan reacted as if he had been caught in the ribs and although the 17-year-old insisted he had no intention of pressing charges, South Wales Police have been obliged to continue investigating after receiving three complaints.
"Three calls have been received from members of the public living in Sussex, Kent and west Wales which are being followed up," a police spokesman said.
Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins hit out at continued police involvement, telling Sky Sports News: "On a personal note, I find it remarkable that there is any thought of police action. Things are done in the heat of the moment and probably everybody looks back and wishes things had been done differently. We accept how things are and all move forward."
Speaking before the FA charged Hazard, Jenkins called for the matter to be dropped entirely.
"That would be my personal feeling, but I can't control what others are going to do. Speaking on behalf of the club, it's something we'd quickly like to forget."
Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez refused to be drawn on any aspect of the ball-boy saga or its implications.
The Spaniard deployed the same bizarre evasion tactics used in a press conference earlier this week, saying: "We have two windows: one for football and one for the other issues."
He said Hazard had trained "normally" since the incident and that any disciplinary action taken against him by the club was an internal matter.
After repeated probing, Chelsea's head of communications eventually intervened, saying: "The club, on the evening, recognised the seriousness of the incident. The player recognised that he was wrong to react in that way. The appropriate apologies were made, and the club made every effort to make those happen. Rafa dealt with it accordingly in the press conference, too."