Sources close to ball boy claims Vertonghen verbally abused him during incident at Bournemouth game.
The Bournemouth ball boy who was involved in a conflict with Jan Vertonghan during Tottenham’s 4-1 victory over Bournemouth has claimed, via a source, that the Belgian international called him a “f***ing fat boy” and told him to “run”.
A source close to the boy – who has asked not to be named, claims that the Spurs defender verbally abused him when he ran towards the boy for a Spurs throw in while the score was still 1-0 to the hosts.
Speaking exclusively, the source said that ‘Vertonghen told him to ‘f***ing run, run fat boy’ before repeating the ‘fat boy’ slur three further times – leading to the ball boy responding by throwing the ball into the ground. Our source said that he felt “intimidated, threatened and abused by what he said – someone almost twice my age was shouting at him”. “(name redacted) has emotions too – and the right to stand up for himself” claimed the source – who said the boy was left ‘very upset’ after the event.
The source went on to say that whilst he knew that professional footballers are “under pressure”, no ball boy had never received this level of personal abuse from any other player. Furthermore, the boy was said to have been enraged that the linesman allowed the Belgian to get away with the foul mouthed rant.
The boy also alleges, via another source (who is a ball boy at the club), that after the incident a steward made threats to take him away – telling the young boy that ‘he (the steward) could do what he wants, including removing him from the game’.
The incident is drawing comparisons to the 2013 League cup game between Swansea and Chelsea, in which Vertonghen’s fellow Belgian international Eden Hazard was sent off for appearing to push and kick a Swansea ball boy. Hazard received a three-match ban for the violent conduct, which was not extended by the FA.
He also suffered a torrent of Twitter abuse following the clash with the defender, including many users claiming that he looks “too fat and old” and one user calling him a “fat nonce”.
However, some users came out in support for the boy, one chipping in by saying that the defender’s abuse “was not ok”.
The incident has been reported to the Police, the FA and both clubs respectively – Neither club has issued a statement.
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Thomas Godfrey is the editor of Circasport and has written for Yahoo Sport.