Australia's best betting sites

FA says 18-month Barton ban was “shortest possible” sentence

FA hands Barton 18-month betting ban
THE Football Association has stood by its decision to ban Burnley and one-time England midfielder Joey Barton for 18 months over betting charges.

In a written statement detailing the reasoning behind its ruling, the FA regulatory commission insisted it was the “shortest possible” sentence for a man who had committed no fewer than 35 breaches of the player conduct code.

“As for his age, and the fact he is coming towards the end of his career, the Commission makes these points,” the statement read.

“He has enjoyed a full career. He has been breaching the betting rules for a substantial part of that career.

“Had he been apprehended and charged earlier, the result – almost certainly – would have been an immediate playing suspension (and all the consequences).

“He has avoided that and enjoyed the fruits. He cannot now pray in aid chronology to avoid a meaningful sanction.

“Further, a younger player charged earlier in their career might well have a legitimate sense of grievance if s/he loses part of their career to suspension, but an older player (by virtue of that fact alone) does not.

“In the Commission’s judgment, the suspension must lie where it falls.”

The report revealed new information that highlighted the scope and severity of Barton’s transgressions.

From a total of 1260 wagers spanning 10 years, the former Manchester City player bet on games involving his own club 20 times.

He picked his team to lose on 15 of those occasions, although he only played in two of the fixtures on which he had money riding.

The length of the sentence effectively brings an end to a troubled career that has been punctuated by violence and controversy since Barton’s early days at the Everton academy.

That includes prison time after being charged with assault and affray in 2008 and a four-month suspended sentence for attacking Ousmane Dabo, then his Man City teammate, during a training session in 2007.

While Barton intends to appeal the ban, Burnley have made no commitment to backing a player whose contract expires at season’s end.

Yet Sean Dyche, the manager at Turf Moor, has expressed sympathy for his charge’s plight.

“He feels 18 months is a bit harsh, and so do we,” he told reporters in the UK.

CrownBet $400-$600 special

“I don’t know how you balance these things in football.

“The legend that is Eric Cantona only got a nine-month ban for his assault on a fan, so 18 months seems a long time to me.

“We know the rules, I must make that clear, and if they were broken the FA have a role and we respect that.

“But there is no intent here other than his own personal gambling, no attempt to change games or fix results.

“The FA obviously want to show they mean business and demonstrate strength in these decisions.

“I can only assume they are going to be just as forceful when they take steps to eradicate all the cheating that goes on in the game, all the diving and falling to the floor.

“I’m sure they will soon be moving on to the bigger picture.”

Barton has another ally in Leon Osman, the former Everton and England midfielder.

He insisted the real culprit was Betfair, the online betting exchange which accepted Barton’s wagers unchecked over the course of a decade.

“The betting company hasn’t done him no favours,” Osman said on BBC Radio this week.

“I feel that they are more to blame than anybody else in this predicament. Ten years they’ve been accepting bets from him.

“I stopped betting up until around three months ago, when I started betting again because I’m not playing anymore.

“Within six weeks of me placing bets the betting company blocked my account.

“I had to phone up and explain to them that I am no longer playing football, or associated with Everton and suddenly they looked me through and released my account. Within six weeks of me having a bet.

“You’re not telling me that in 10 years they’ve not noticed that Joey Barton’s betting on football.”

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x