Burnley midfielder, Joey Barton, has been slapped with an 18-month ban from football after accepting a betting charge by England’s Football Association.
The former Newcastle and Manchester City midfielder was charged after being found to have placed as many as 1,260 bets on matches between March 2006 and May 2016. He has also been fined £30,000 for his actions and warned about his future conduct.
Barton released a statement as the ruling was made public, admitting he’s had a long-standing gambling addiction and that the decision, which he branded ‘excessive,’ has effectively forced him to retire from football.
“I am very disappointed at the harshness of the sanction. 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.”
“I accept that I broke the rules governing professional footballers, but I do feel the penalty is heavier than it might be for other less controversial players. I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem. I’m disappointed it wasn’t taken into proper consideration.” – Joey Barton.
Barton posted sheets detailing some of the most pertinent bets he made along with the statement on his website. The 34-year-old, who joined Burnley for a second spell in January after a short stint at Rangers, bet on games involving his Man City and Newcastle teams; even betting on his sides to lose when he was not in the match day squad. Additionally, Barton made as many as 15,000 bets on various sports since 2004, through an account he set up at Betfair.
He also accepted a Scottish FA betting charge after he placed bets between July and September 2016 while he was a Rangers player.
Barton is no stranger to controversy, having been suspended multiple times for on-field incidents and served a 77-day prison sentence for common assault for an incident at Liverpool City Centre.