Chelsea are ready to fight any attempt to force Eden Hazard to serve an extended ban for kicking out at a ball boy after he was charged over his Capital One Cup dismissal at Swansea.
Hazard was already set to serve an automatic three-match suspension for his red card in the Blues' semi-final exit at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday night. The Football Association deemed that a "clearly insufficient" punishment for the offence, charging the 22-year-old on Friday afternoon and giving him until 6pm on Tuesday to respond.
Chelsea have not decided whether to contest or accept the charge but Press Association Sport understands they would appeal were any additional suspension imposed. And that would almost certainly be the outcome of disciplinary proceedings unless Hazard chooses to fight the charge itself.
An FA statement read: "The FA have charged Chelsea's Eden Hazard following his side's League Cup semi-final at Swansea City on 23 January 2013.
"It is alleged that Hazard's behaviour in relation to a Swansea City ball boy, for which the player was dismissed in the 78th minute, constituted violent conduct whereby the standard punishment that would otherwise apply was clearly insufficient."
Hazard no longer faces criminal action, however, after South Wales Police announced they had dropped their investigation into the incident, posting on Twitter: "We can confirm there is no longer any police involvement in this matter."
The police launched a probe after receiving three calls from members of the public living in Sussex, Kent and west Wales over the actions that led to Hazard's dismissal by referee Chris Foy in the closing stages of Wednesday night's game.
The Belgian lost patience when Swansea ball boy Charlie Morgan refused to hand over the ball after it had gone out for a goal-kick. Morgan fell to the ground as Hazard attempted to get the ball from him, with the 22-year-old then kicking it from under him.
Morgan reacted as if he had been caught in the ribs but the 17-year-old insisted he had no intention of pressing charges.
Swansea chairman Hugh Jenkins hit out at continued police involvement, telling Sky Sports News: "Things are done in the heat of the moment and probably everybody looks back and wishes things had been done differently. We accept how things are and all move forward."