Skip to main content

Eden a Hazard to Chelsea's public image?

By Alex Thomas, CNN
January 24, 2013 -- Updated 1601 GMT (0001 HKT)
Chelsea's Eden Hazard is led away after been sent off during Chelsea's match in Swansea.
Chelsea's Eden Hazard is led away after been sent off during Chelsea's match in Swansea.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Eden Hazard sent of on Wednesday for kicking a ball boy
  • The Chelsea player was attempting to retrieve the ball from under the ball boy
  • Hazard was given a straight red for the kick during a match with Swansea
  • The Belgian has since apologized privately and publicly

Editor's note: Alex Thomas is an anchor on CNN International's World Sport show, broadcast daily at 0500, 1700 and 2230 GMT. Follow Alex on twitter: @alexthomasCNN

(CNN) -- Seventy eight years after Gene Sarazen's albatross at The Masters became golf's "shot heard around the world" football has its own version, except there was no glory in Eden Hazard's kick heard all over the globe. And it has left another dent in the sport's battered image.

When Sarazen holed his second shot, over water at the par-five 15th, it helped him win the Augusta title and launch the tournament's global appeal.

In 1935, the news of Sarazen's achievement would have traveled far slower than the seconds it took Hazard's moment of madness to become a social media talking point across the planet.

Chelsea were trailing in their League Cup, generally regarded as the third competition in English soccer, semifinal second leg in Swansea, with less than 15 minutes remaining.

U.S. star Jozy Altidore was subjected to racial abuse during AZ Alkmaar's cup win at Den Bosch in the Netherlands. The match was halted and the crowd were asked to stop the abusive chanting before the action resumed. U.S. star Jozy Altidore was subjected to racial abuse during AZ Alkmaar's cup win at Den Bosch in the Netherlands. The match was halted and the crowd were asked to stop the abusive chanting before the action resumed.
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
Racism in football Racism in football
Roberto Di Matteo's tenure as Chelsea manager came to an end after Tuesday's 3-0 defeat to Juventus. Di Matteo was sacked despite leading Chelsea to European Champions League and English FA Cup glory just six months earlier. Roberto Di Matteo's tenure as Chelsea manager came to an end after Tuesday's 3-0 defeat to Juventus. Di Matteo was sacked despite leading Chelsea to European Champions League and English FA Cup glory just six months earlier.
Standing alone
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
Roberto Di Matteo\'s time at Chelsea Roberto Di Matteo's time at Chelsea
Real Madrid ($650.5 million) and Barcelona ($613 million) lead the way at the top of the chart by some considerable distance over English champion Manchester United ($502.4) . The top six places remain unchanged from last year. Real Madrid ($650.5 million) and Barcelona ($613 million) lead the way at the top of the chart by some considerable distance over English champion Manchester United ($502.4) . The top six places remain unchanged from last year.
Leading the way
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
Spain dominates football\'s rich list Spain dominates football's rich list
Chelsea's players lift the Champions League for the first time after their dramatic win over Bayern Munich. Chelsea's players lift the Champions League for the first time after their dramatic win over Bayern Munich.
Champions League glory at last
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
Chelsea win Champions League for the first time Chelsea win Champions League for the first time
Chelsea captain John Terry is injured after going down in a tackle with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. Chelsea captain John Terry is injured after going down in a tackle with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
Terry's torment
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
Terry injured on Chelsea comeback Terry injured on Chelsea comeback
It is now nearly a year since Chelsea lost to QPR 1-0 in an English Premier League game at Loftus Road. During the game it was alleged QPR defender Anton Ferdinand swore at John Terry and made reference to the Chelsea captain's reported affair with the ex-partner of former team-mate Wayne Bridge. Terry is then said to have described Ferdinand as a "f***ing black c***". It is now nearly a year since Chelsea lost to QPR 1-0 in an English Premier League game at Loftus Road. During the game it was alleged QPR defender Anton Ferdinand swore at John Terry and made reference to the Chelsea captain's reported affair with the ex-partner of former team-mate Wayne Bridge. Terry is then said to have described Ferdinand as a "f***ing black c***".
Where it all began
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
Crime and Punishment in sport Crime and Punishment in sport

Read: Chelsea's Hazard sent off for kicking ball boy

The ball went out of play and, when a ball boy took his time retrieving it, Hazard went to fetch it himself. When the boy fell on the ball, the player tried to kick it out from under him and was sent off for violent conduct.

More astonishing than the incident itself was the debate about whether or not Hazard had done anything wrong. Many people tried to defend the Belgian international.

Let's quickly put that to bed. The 17-year-old ball boy was a child, a volunteer helping out at a professional football match, and he was kicked by an adult player. Hazard was wrong.

Now, that's not the same as saying there were no mitigating circumstances because there were. The ball boy later admitted he was wasting time and that was clear to see at the time.

Read: Eden Hazard - right or wrong?

Hazard was anxious to resume play with Chelsea's place in the competition under threat. He aimed his kick at the ball not the person. The teenager isn't a young child and wasn't badly injured.

Those are the only reasons why Hazard isn't facing the same nine-month ban given to Manchester United icon Eric Cantona who famously launched himself at an abusive fan with a kung fu-style kick in 1995.

Cantona's assault was deliberate and intended to harm whereas Hazard was merely trying to get the ball back. However, Cantona attacked another adult and after severe provocation. Hazard's impatience led to him kicking a minor and if the child had been seriously hurt the police would be investigating.

Chelsea inflamed the situation when the club's official Twitter account immediately defended the player, asking "Has football gone mad?" before later removing the tweet and apologizing.

Well, maybe it has but only because mega rich clubs seem to have lost touch with reality and give the impression they don't need to follow the rules of common decency that the rest of us try to live by.

What is a shame for the London team is that any adulation and respect which stemmed from their fairy tale European Champions League triumph last season has disappeared because of the defensive way they have reacted to criticism since then.

Chelsea's handling of the John Terry racism case and the accusations aimed at referee Mark Clattenburg was poor.

A possible persecution complex appears to be a culture at the club. The Terry and Clattenburg incidents happened before Rafael Benitez's arrival and yet the new manager has adopted the same mindset.

When a simple apology and show of humility would have killed the controversy, a complaint about a "Big Brother society" perpetuates the impression that Chelsea will only ever point fingers and never accept blame.

In this case, good sense did eventually prevail with reports claiming the boy was taken to Chelsea's dressing room, warmly greeted and he exchanged apologies with Hazard. South Wales police have confirmed they are not pursuing the matter.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT