Ballboy clash may cost Hazard more than three-match ban


Eden Hazard faces the prospect of a ban of more than three matches for his altercation with the Swansea City ballboy on Wednesday night to add to Rafael Benitez’s worries about the strain on his Chelsea squad.

Hazard was sent off in the team’s Capital One Cup semi-final second-leg exit at the Liberty Stadium following his ill-judged attempt to kick the ball from beneath the apparently time-wasting ballboy and he will serve a suspension of three games for violent conduct, which begins tomorrow in the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Brentford.

The FA feels three matches is “clearly insufficient” punishment for Hazard’s offence and they have referred the matter to an independent commission that is empowered to add extra games to the ban.

The commission will rule next week, after Chelsea have put forward their submissions; the deadline is Tuesday at 6pm. It is expected that the commission will add one or two matches to Hazard’s suspension.

After Brentford, Hazard will miss the league games away to Reading and Newcastle United. Chelsea’s following domestic fixtures are against Wigan Athletic at home and then, possibly, a tie in the FA Cup fifth round. Thereafter, they face Manchester City away.

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