Rafa: Three-game ban enough for Eden
Rafael Benitez has confirmed Chelsea would not accept an extended ban for Eden Hazard after breaking his silence on the Swansea ball-boy saga.
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Two days after refusing to answer questions on Hazard's red card for kicking out at Liberty Stadium ball boy Charlie Morgan, interim Blues boss Benitez insisted a three-game suspension was "enough" punishment for the offence.
Friday afternoon saw the Football Association charge Hazard over the incident, stating the standard sanction for violent conduct was "clearly insufficient" in the Belgian's case.
Chelsea had until Sunday still to decide whether to contest that charge but it is understood that they would have to do so to stand any realistic hope of avoiding being handed an additional ban.
Anything over three matches would trigger an automatic appeal by the European champions and Benitez said after Sunday's 2-2 FA Cup fourth-round draw at Brentford: "At the moment, we will accept that three games is enough.
"So we will see what happens."
Benitez claimed he was unaware whether the club would fight the charge, although it is understood they stand ready to use video evidence to show Hazard poked the ball from under Morgan in an attempt to retrieve it rather than simply kicking the 17-year-old during Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg.
"I think that you have been watching the replay, different angles and everything," Benitez said.
"For a player that was in a cup competition, with this intensity and in the way that things are going on, I think that a three-game ban is enough."
Hazard served the first instalment of his automatic suspension today.
Benitez said: "I have a lot of images but I think that, for a professional, and for the club, we have already lost the player at the end of the game, we will lose the player at least for three games. I think it's enough."
Defender Gary Cahill agreed, branding the prospect of an additional sanction for Hazard as "very harsh''.
He said: "If I was a ball boy, I'd grab the ball as quickly as I could and throw it back. That would solve all the problems.
"Anything more than a three-match ban would be very harsh for me.''