Cops probe alleged assault by Chelsea striker on ballboy who is revealed to be the heir to £42m hotel fortune with a taste for the high life
Police have launched an inquiry into alleged assault after a ballboy was kicked by Chelsea player Eden Hazard during a cup semi-final last night.
Charlie Morgan, 17, sprang to national fame after the incident at the Liberty Stadium.
South Wales police force said they have received three complaints from members of the public and are following them up.
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Wealthy: Charlie Morgan (left), the ballboy who was kicked by Eden Hazard during a League Cup game last night, is the son of multi-millionaire businessman Martin Morgan (right)
Property: The self-made tycoon is the owner of the luxury Morgans hotel in Swansea, pictured
Party boy: Charlie Morgan texting while his girlfriend Jess Lamb poses for the camera
Officers will speak to the complainants in Sussex, Kent and West Wales, before deciding whether to take any further action.
A spokesman said: ‘South Wales Police has received a number of calls following an incident involving a ball boy at the Capital One Cup semi-final between Swansea City and Chelsea at The Liberty Stadium in Swansea on Wednesday 23rd January.
‘Three calls have been received from members of the public living in Sussex, Kent and West Wales which are being followed up.
‘Officers have interviewed the ball boy concerned in the presence of his father and he does not wish to make any formal complaint.
‘The boy did not sustain any injuries.’
The ballboy is the son of hotel and property tycoon Martin Morgan, said to be the 32nd richest person in Wales.
Mr Morgan is on the the Swansea City board of directors – which is how Charlie ended up as a ballboy for yesterday’s League Cup semi-final against the London side.
Posting on Twitter before the game, the teenager wrote: ‘The king of all ballboys is back making his final appearance #needed #for #timewasting.’
Charlie’s father is the director of 11 hotel and property companies and has featured in recent editions of the Sunday Times Rich List.
Mr Morgan comes in at number 32 in the top 100 list for Wales – ahead of Premier League footballers Michael Owen and Ryan Giggs and 80s rock chick Bonnie Tyler.
Ben Watkins, 18, a former school friend of Charlie’s, said: ‘He must be the richest ballboy in football.
‘He’s mad about Swansea City – what he did was a bit foolish especially after be boasted he was going to time waste. I guess he’s been a bit spoiled because his dad’s got pots of money.’
In posts on Twitter Charlie brags about drinking Veuve Clicquot champagne and going on holiday to Las Vegas and Dubai.
Travelling in style: Charlie put up this picture of himself in Virgin Atlantic’s upper class
Destination: The teenager on holiday in Las Vegas, in another picture he posted to Twitter
Flash: Charlie’s Audi A1 in a picture he posted on Instagram tagged ‘Grrrrrr #audi #newcar #rascal’
During last night’s game, £170,000-a-week Chelsea star Hazard was trying to regain the ball when it went out of play late in the game with the club facing a League Cup exit at the hands of Swansea.
He apparently became infuriated when the boy fell to the ground, landed on the ball and smothered it – costing Chelsea valuable seconds.
Hazard tried to kick it from under the teenager but caught him in the ribs before he finally grabbed the ball and ran off.
The 22-year-old Belgian footballer, who joined the club for £32million last summer from French side Lille, was sent off after the incident at Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium.
Pricey: A photo of the Louis Vuitton store in Las Vegas which Charlie put on Twitter
Shared: The teenager retweeted someone else’s £120,000 receipt with the caption, ‘This is huge time’, and also let his friends know about the good weather at his holiday destination
Hazard – whose red card came in the 80th minute of the second leg of the semi-final, which finished 0-0 – walked off the pitch. Several Chelsea players went to tend to the ballboy, left holding his ribs.
The footballer was widely criticised over the incident, but some people blamed Charlie for the encounter after it emerged he had boasted that he planned to waste time during the match.
After the controversial tweet about ‘timewasting’, he added: ‘Haven’t been doing it this season been ask to come back to run them because the person can’t come in cos of the snow.’
The college student was examined by medics in an ambulance but was not seriously injured.
Although police interviewed Charlie in the presence of his father, the family did not choose to press charges, and they were invited into the Chelsea dressing room where both the teenager and Hazard apologised for their role in the fracas.
Designer: Charlie posted pictures of designer towels (left) and ‘upper class’ socks on website Instagram
Flashpoint: Chelsea’s Eden Hazard clashed with the teenage ballboy who is lying on the ball
Grabbed: Hazard reaches for the football as the ballboy writhes on the ground
The moment: Chelsea striker Eden Hazard kicks a ballboy in the ribs during a match against Swansea City
In the wake of his new-found fame, the teenager was laying low at his family mansion in the South Wales countryside with his father and his mother Louisa.
The £1.5million home in Carmarthenshire had several cars parked outside, including the Audi which Charlie uses to drive to Gower College, and horses were grazing in a paddock.
Mr Morgan started his career as a welder but became a company director by the age of 29, and now sits on the board of 11 different companies.
Chelsea players reacted angrily on the pitch when referee Chris Foy produced a red card. They claimed Hazard had tried to get the ball loose to restart play as the clock ticked down.
Hazard told Chelsea TV after the game: ‘The boy put his whole body onto the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball and I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologise.
‘The ballboy came in the changing room and we had a quick chat and I apologised and the boy apologised as well, and it is over. Sorry.’
The cup tie marked an impressive victory for Swansea, who will go to Wembley for the first cup final in their 100-year history after winning 2-0 on aggregate thanks to their first-leg success.
Swansea captain Ashley Williams, who was close to the incident, said afterwards: ‘Demba Ba said he was holding on to the ball, but I saw him (Hazard) kick him in the ribs. You can’t do that to a little boy.’
But outspoken ‘bad boy’ footballer Joey Barton leaped to the player’s defence, tweeting: ‘Hazard’s only crime is he hasn’t kicked him hard enough.’
Anger: Swansea’s Ashley Williams (centre) is held back as he tries to confront Eden Hazard (off camera)
Sending off: Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (#17) receives a red card from referee Chris Foy for violent conduct
The Swans’ manager Michael Laudrup said he expected Hazard would regret the incident when he views it on TV.
‘I saw it from a very big distance from the bench,’ he said. ‘I’ve since seen it after the game. Hazard is a great player. When he sees the images I think he will regret it.’
Laudrup denied the club had told the ballboys to hold onto the ball when it went out of play.
‘No, no. Definitely not,’ he said. ‘I think he was pushed and on top of the ball. I can understand all the frustrations when you are behind.’
However, former Chelsea and England manager Glenn Hoddle sympathised with Hazard and claimed managers often instruct ballboys to waste time.
He told Sky Sports: ‘As a manager, if you’ve got ballboys, you will tell people instructing the ballboys that if you’re winning the game, don’t give the ball back quickly.’
Helping hand: Chelsea’s Demba Ba (right) checks on the ballboy after he had clashed with Eden Hazard
Boast: The 17-year-old earlier wrote on Twitter that he was ‘needed for timewasting’
He said: ‘The ballboy has been in the dressing room talking with Hazard and they have apologised to each other. They know they were wrong, that’s it.
‘He was wasting time, Hazard was frustrated, he wanted to get the ball back quickly so they have both made a mistake and we cannot say too much.
‘We will deal with this internally. We will analyse and wait to see if there is any action from the FA.’
But Benitez reacted angrily when he was accused of attempting to condone Hazard’s actions.
‘I do not know what you expect from me,’ he said. ‘Do you think we are not disappointed with the situation, that we do not regret what happened? Do you think they have not apologised? They have done it so what can we do now? Do you want to change things? We cannot.’
Swansea City said in a statement: ‘South Wales Police interviewed the 17-year-old ball boy with his father after the game and neither wished to press any charges.
‘It was an unfortunate incident which both parties regret being involved in. Chelsea invited the ball boy into the dressing room after the game to shake hands with Hazard and both parties apologised.
‘The ball boy was very impressed with the welcome he received from the Chelsea players and as far as both clubs and individuals are concerned the matter is closed.’
On the floor: Charlie lies on the ground after being kicked by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard
Explanation: Hazard apologised for the incident in an interview with Chelsea TV after the match
Twitter users reacted strongly to the incident, branding Hazard a ‘disgrace’, ‘scumbag’ and ‘animal’. Footballers Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler also waded into the debate.
Stoke City striker Owen said on Twitter: ‘I’ve seen it all now! What a joke’. Former Liverpool footballer Fowler added: ‘Right decision even though ballboy milked it.’
CNN broadcaster Piers Morgan said: ‘Eden Hazard sent off for deliberately kicking a ballboy in the ribs. Yes, you read right. Unbelievable!’
And Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand added: ‘I’m not the authorities but in my eyes its a red for all those asking. Us players do put refs in bad spots at times unfortunately!’
But former Derby County footballer Robbie Savage, now a BBC pundit, said: ‘Still can’t believe he got sent off for that, incredible!! If the ballboy does his job properly that doesn’t happen.’
‘After reviewing last night’s footage, I’ve come to the conclusion that the game’s gone,’ Marseilles star Barton wrote on Twitter. ‘Ballboys aged 17, time wasting, then rolling round like they’ve been shot. Game’s gone.
‘He was actually claiming to be best time waster in the world on Twitter yesterday!’
He added: ‘Swansea should face punishment also in my eyes. Hazard will be vilified for his over reaction.’
In pain: A ballboy (second right) is ushered away from the sidelines following the incident with Hazard
Controversial: Joey Barton sent out a tweet in support of Eden Hazard and criticising the ballboy
‘My early judgment is, this is going to sound like painful fence-sitting, but I think they are both at fault,’ the Deputy Prime Minister said today.
‘Hazard absolutely should not have done what he did, that was absolutely out of order. Benitez has been clear on that. But the ballboy did seem to kind of cover the ball, which is frustrating for a player.’
‘Has football gone mad? Hazard is sent off for kicking the ball under a ballboy attempting to smother the ball rather than return it. #CFC’
Chelsea official Twitter feed
Chelsea’s official Twitter feed tried to make light of the incident, saying: ‘Has football gone mad? Hazard is sent off for kicking the ball under a ballboy attempting to smother the ball rather than return it. #CFC’
The account later added: ‘A hugely disappointing performance topped by a bizarre red card.’
But a tweet after the game said: ‘Apologies for earlier ballboy tweet. Hazard has now met with the ballboy and has said sorry. #CFC’
Some outraged Chelsea fans sent Charlie a string of abusive tweets blaming him for the whole incident.
@OfficialDJWalsh said: ‘Mate, all I wanna say is… YOU are a disgrace and a bad sportsman for trying to time waste. I hope he broke your ribs.’
Fan David Comlay added: ‘Five minutes of fame, but you looked an idiot. You should be ashamed.’
The teenager went from 600 followers to more than 80,000 in the hours after the nationally televised incident.
Striker: Eden Hazard is pictured earlier in the match (left) and winning an award in Paris in May 2011 (right)
South Wales Police Chief Superintendent Josh Jones said: ‘South Wales Police is aware of the incident involving a ballboy at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea tonight (Wednesday).
‘We are making arrangements for him to be interviewed. South Wales Police takes such matters very seriously.’
Swansea defender Dwight Tiendalli had to be ushered away from Hazard as he tried to challenge him after the match.
He said: ‘He shouldn’t have done it as he’s a little boy and it made me angry. It was crazy, I’ve never seen anything like that before.
‘I could see the boy had the ball and Hazard was trying to take it and there was a struggle. It was stupid and I think he (Hazard) knows he did something wrong.
‘He’s only human and people make mistakes but he shouldn’t have done it.’