Marseille apologise for Barton tweet

Club forced to make statement after midfielder brands Silva an ‘overweight ladyboy’

 Marseille coach Elie Baup says Joey Barton remains a key member of his squad despite tweets. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Marseille coach Elie Baup says Joey Barton remains a key member of his squad despite tweets. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Thu, Apr 4, 2013, 12:43

Marseille coach Elie Baup says Joey Barton remains a key member of his squad despite the midfielder having angered club chiefs by labelling Paris St Germain defender Thiago Silva an “overweight ladyboy” on Twitter.

The Englishman, on loan from QPR, was last night ordered by OM officials to cease his attack on the Brazilian, which was also condemned by PSG and a prominent anti-homophobia group based in the French capital.

Barton wrote a series of Twitter messages on Tuesday evening and yesterday morning, in which he went as far as questioning whether Silva was “pre-op or post-op”.

But Baup, speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s home Ligue 1 game against Bordeaux, said: “What is important to me is the communication from the club.

“I am the coach of OM and I have to intervene (only) on larger matters. The communication of individual players is their own responsibility.

“I have a boss and a direction. Barton holds an important place in the team and I make decisions in the game — for example, that he (Barton) did not start against Nice (last weekend). That is my responsibility. Beyond that, it does not concern me.”

Barton’s outburst apparently stemmed from comments made by Silva ahead of PSG’s Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona, when there was an oblique reference to Barton.

Silva spoke of an English Marseille player whose name he claimed to have forgotten that had taken to criticising big-name players including David Beckham because nobody was talking about him.

Marseille last night said in a statement that the club and Barton were keen to apologise for the midfielder’s “inappropriate comments”, adding: “The management asked Joey Barton to put an end to the attack on PSG’s Brazilian defender. The Marseille midfielder pledged to immediately cease the posting of anything derogatory about Thiago Silva.”