A Welsh teen has found fame after a Chelsea soccer star was sent off for appearing to kick him while attempting to retrieve the ball.
But Charlie Morgan, 17, is now facing a barrage of homophobic abuse on Twitter blaming him for Chelsea’s loss against Swansea.
Nicknamed ‘Ballboygate’, and with Chelsea facing the next few games without one of its star players, it prompted a fury on social networking sites.
Among the many homophobic insults hurled directly at the 17-year-old, @The_WhiteMist said: ‘u little fat gay prick. Hope he broke your ribs.’
And @CiaranByrne_2 said: ‘You little cunt! Die you little runty gay welsh sheep shagging bastard!’
Belgium winger Eden Hazard has apologized to the ball boy, and will not face criminal charges, but will be handed a minimum three-match ban for violent conduct.
Morgan, who had earlier tweeted he would be needed for ‘timewasting’, appeared to hold the ball from being put into play. He has not tweeted since the game and it has been announced the ball boy will not be giving interviews.
Speaking after the game, Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez said: ‘They both talked. The boy knows he was wasting time. Hazard was frustrated and trying to get the ball back.’
With Chelsea needing two late goals to force extra time, the match finished 0-0 with Swansea progressing to the final 2-0 on aggregate.
Gay rights campaigners have urged the Football Association to get tough on homophobia in football.
Stonewall’s Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said ‘anti-gay abuse is all too common on both terraces and pitches’ and it ‘almost always goes unchallenged.’
‘Fans believe that it is this abuse, from fans, players and teammates that deters gay people from playing football,’ he said.