Leyton Orient captain Liam Kelly has been banned six matches by the English Football Association for shoving a 17-year-old Plymouth Argyle ball boy to the ground during a match on Tuesday.
Orient was down 2-1 until Gavin Massey leveled things in the 88th minute, and with the ball out for a corner to the visitors, Kelly was looking to hurry things up and maybe snatch a winner. He clearly felt the ball boy, who collected the match ball behind the goal as it went out of play, was looking to slow play down for the hosts, so he shoved the kid to the ground.
Even though Kelly’s push was pretty obvious as the boy goes hurling backwards, the incident was somehow not seen by the match officials, leaving the FA free to punish as they saw fit.
“It was alleged [Kelly] committed an act of violent conduct in the 86th minute which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video, contrary to FA Rule E3,” the FA released in a statement on Friday. “Furthermore, The FA claimed that the standard punishment for the offence would be clearly insufficient. The player denied both the charge and the claim, however, following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing on Friday evening (17 February 2017), the case in respect of the charge of violent conduct was found proven.”
The ban is controversial to some, who cite that it is longer than the five-match minimum ban for racial abuse.
Orient did eventually get a winning goal, as Sandro Semedo bagged a 94th minute strike to give Orient all three points on the road at a League Two promotion candidate. Orient currently sits in 23rd position, fighting for their League Two lives, while Plymouth is in second and looking to go up.