The end of the ball boy?

OPINION

IT’S fair to say that not a lot of people are happy with how last Wednesday’s FFA Cup final between Sydney FC and Adelaide United ended, and I’m one of them.
Not because of the fact United lost, or the fact that Sydney won, but because of the ball boy controversy involving United’s Michael Marrone.
For those who didn’t see the incident, Sydney was leading 2-1 with about nine minutes to go in extra-time when the ball went out for a throw-in.
The Sydney FC ball boy picked up the ball and hesitated in giving it back to Marrone for the throw-in.
Marrone, in a matter of urgency in a cup final, attempted to retrieve the ball off the boy, who turned away from him and, in doing so, was bowled over by the United player.
A scuffle between teams ensued, Marrone was red carded for the incident, and Sydney went on to win the match 2-1.
Now, I’m not condoning Marrone’s actions, but, honestly, the ball boy needs to be brought into question for trying to interfere in a match, regardless of the result, because that was a disgrace.
Despite that already frustrating me, the trophy celebration was simply stupid.
The Sydney FC players invited the ball boy onto the stage for the FFA Cup presentation, and Sky Blue Michael Zullo actually put his winner’s medal around his neck.
As nice as the gesture may have been, it was completely unnecessary and put the whole incident on a pedestal.
As far as I’m aware, being a ball boy in any given sport should be presented as an opportunity for young kids to be on a stage with their heroes.
However, they also have a job to do, which is simply fetch the ball for the professionals on the field, regardless of what team they support.
This incident is nearly identical to when Chelsea player Eden Hazard attempted to retrieve the ball from a Swansea City ball boy in the English League Cup semi-final.
Chelsea was losing to heavy underdogs Swansea, and late in the game a ball boy pounced on the ball, and refused to give it back, and the Belgian attempted to kick it out from under him.
Instead, he was instantly red carded and subsequently suspended.
If this kind of rubbish continues to happen, then the ball boy no longer belongs in football.

Jack Hudson

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Growing up in Gawler, Jack has taken on a variety of journalistic roles while still studying for his Bachelor of Journalism and Creative Writing degree. He began his career at The Bunyip as a weekend football writer, before taking on roles with The Footy Budget and The Cricket Chronicle and then earning his first part-time gig at the Barossa Herald. Now returning to The Bunyip, Jack also has a keen interest in footy and soccer, as well as a passion for gaming and reading.

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