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Jan 31, 2013

FA: Hazard ban will not be extended

The Football Association has confirmed that Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard will not have his three-match ban for kicking out at a Swansea ballboy increased.

There had been a possibility that Hazard, 22, would face a ban of more than three games for violent conduct had the FA deemed that to be appropriate.

But an FA statement said: "Chelsea player Eden Hazard will not have his standard three-match sanction for violent conduct increased.

"Following a hearing earlier today, an independent regulatory commission was of the opinion the existing three-match sanction for this offence was sufficient.

"The FA will be reminding all clubs of their responsibilities in ensuring ballboys and other personnel around the pitch act in an appropriate manner at all times, and the FA will be liaising with competitions accordingly."

A statement from the Premier League club read: "Chelsea Football Club has received the independent commission's ruling that Eden Hazard will not face further sanctions following an incident at the Capital One Cup semi-final at Swansea last Wednesday.

"Despite our disappointment that the FA felt it necessary to take it as far as today's hearing, Chelsea are satisfied that good sense finally prevailed and no extra games were added."

On Wednesday, the BBC reported that Chelsea had written to the FA to contest any attempt to extend the Belgium international's ban.

Hazard was sent off by referee Chris Foy in the second half of the Blues' League Cup semi-final second leg at Swansea when he appeared to try to kick the ball from underneath a ballboy who was lying on the ground.

Chelsea are thought to have argued that the player was swift to apologise for the incident, and are also thought to have pointed out that Swindon's Matt Ritchie was only booked for a similar incident in a match against Oxford last year.

Earlier this week, a statement from the FA had said: "It is alleged that Hazard's behaviour in relation to a Swansea City ballboy, for which the player was dismissed in the 78th minute, constituted violent conduct whereby the standard punishment that would otherwise apply was clearly insufficient."

Chelsea were angered by the possibility that the incident could be punished with a ban beyond the standard three games, and have written to the FA to oppose such an extension.

A four-match ban would have ruled Hazard out of the FA Cup replay against Brentford at Stamford Bridge on February 17, while any further suspension would have seen him miss the clash at Manchester City on February 24.

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