Joey Barton suspended from football for 18 months

The Burnley midfielder admitted a misconduct charge relating to betting on games

Burnley’s Joey Barton has been suspended from football for 18 months after admitting a misconduct charge relating to betting, the Football Association has announced. Photo: Getty Images

Burnley’s Joey Barton has been suspended from football for 18 months after admitting a misconduct charge relating to betting, the Football Association has announced. Photo: Getty Images

 

Joey Barton has been suspended from all football activity for 18 months with immediate effect after he admitted a Football Association misconduct charge related to betting.

Barton is alleged to have placed 1,260 bets on football matches between March 2006 and May 2013.

The 34-year-old midfielder started his career with Manchester City and has played for Newcastle, QPR, Marseille and Rangers. He also has one full England cap.

In January, he rejoined Burnley after a successful stint with the Premier League club in 2015/16 and has played 13 league games this campaign, scoring once.

Barton is planning to appeal and has made a lengthy statement, which he has published on his website. The player said: “The decision effectively forces me into an early retirement from playing football. To be clear from the outset here this is not match fixing and at no point in any of this is my integrity in question.

“Having consulted with my friends and lawyers, I have decided I will be appealing against the length of the ban. I hope that I shall be afforded a fair hearing by an independent appeal panel. If I am, we are confident that the sanction will be reduced to a fair one that both reflects the offences as well as the mitigating factors and the fact that there was nothing untoward or suspicious about the bets I made.

“Throughout my career I am someone who has made mistakes and owned up to those mistakes and tried to learn from them. I intend to do that here. I accept that this is one more mess I got into because of my own behaviour. This episode has brought home to me that just as I had to face up to the need to get help to deal with alcohol abuse, and with anger, so now I need to get help for my issues with gambling, and I will do so.

“As for the scale of my football betting, since 2004, on a Betfair account held in my own name, registered at my home address and verified by my own passport, with full transparency, I have placed over 15,000 bets across a whole range of sports. Just over 1,200 were placed on football and subject to the charges against me. The average bet was just over £150, many were for only a few pounds.

”Raised at the hearing was that between 2004 and 2011 I placed a handful of bets on my own team to lose matches. I accept of course that this is against the rules, for the obvious reason that a player with an additional financial stake in the game might seek to change the course of it for his own personal gain. However I’d like to offer some context.

“First, in every game I have played, I have given everything. I’m confident that anyone who has ever seen me play, or played with or against me, will confirm that to be the case. I am more aware than anyone that I have character issues that I struggle with, and my addictive personality is one of them, but I am a devoted and dedicated professional who has always given my all on the pitch.

“Second, on the few occasions where I placed a bet on my own team to lose, I was not involved in the match day squad for any of those games. I did not play. I was not even on the bench. I had no more ability to influence the outcome than had I been betting on darts, snooker, or a cricket match in the West Indies. I should add that on some of those occasions, my placing of the bet on my own team to lose was an expression of my anger and frustration at not being picked or being unable to play. I understand people will think that is childish and selfish and I cannot disagree with that.

“Third, I should point out that the last of these bets against my own team was six years ago [and in a reserve game], when I was going through a particularly troubled period, and when the FA were not nearly as hard on gambling as they are now.”

The midfielder has had a troubled history on and off the pitch. In December 2004 he was fined six weeks’ wages for stubbing a lit cigar in the eye of a young teammate during Manchester City’s Christmas party. In May 2007 Barton was suspended by the club after a training-ground altercation with Ousmane Dabo. He was charged with assault, and in July 2008 received a four-month suspended jail sentence. The FA also banned him for 12 matches, six of which were suspended and handed him a £25,000 fine.

Later that year he was arrested in Liverpool city centre after a late-night incident and was charged with common assault and affray, and in May 2008 was jailed for six months.

In May 2012 Barton was banned for 12 matches for violent conduct when playing for Queens Park Rangers. After receiving a red card for appearing to strike Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez, Barton then kicked Sergio Agüero and attempted to headbutt Vincent Kompany. The then QPR captain was also fined £75,000.

(Guardian service)

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