Leyton Orient midfielder Liam Kelly has been banned for six matches for pushing a ball boy during Tuesday night’s Sky Bet League Two clash with Plymouth.
The Football Association charged Kelly with violent conduct on Thursday after he shoved 17-year-old Plymouth ball boy Jake McLean to the ground while attempting to retrieve the ball during his side’s win at Home Park, in an incident not seen by the match officials.
Kelly denied the charge but the FA announced on Friday evening that an independent regulatory commission had ruled against him.
A statement on the governing body’s website read: “Leyton Orient’s Liam Kelly has been suspended for six matches with immediate effect following the game at Plymouth Argyle on 14 February 2017.
“It was alleged he 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.
“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.”
Earlier McLean had called for Kelly to be shown “he has done something wrong”.
The Plymouth volunteer insisted he was not trying to slow the game down – a view video replays appear to support – and refused to accept the Orient captain may have acted in the heat of the moment.
“I went to retrieve the ball to throw it out for a corner,” he told The Plymouth Herald. “And as I did that the Leyton Orient player (Kelly) came over to me and shoved me to the floor.
“I didn’t feel as if I was going slow or having any impact on the game. For that to happen I just feel as if I didn’t have any respect from the player for doing my job.
“I don’t understand the ‘heat of the moment’ argument at all. I could understand it if I’d been trying to delay the game.
“What’s disappointed me even more is after the game he didn’t even try and find me to apologise or anything.
“It shows a lack of respect from the other team towards the ball boys.
“I can’t turn around now and say I’d like to see the player get a ban. Obviously, it’s not my decision on what happens.
“But for something to have an impact on the player so that he realises he has done something wrong would be good.”
In 2013, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard was sent off for kicking 17-year-old Swansea ball boy Charlie Morgan in the closing stages of a League Cup fixture.
The Belgian received a three-match ban for violent conduct, which the FA decided against extending.