Joey Barton has been hit with a substantial 18-month ban from football after being found guilty of misconduct over his betting activity.
Back in December, Barton was charged after placing no less than 1,260 flutters (between 26th March 2006 and 13th May 2016), all of which the FA said contravened their strict rules about professional players betting on football matches.
The Burnley midfielder, 34, has since admitted the charge, leaving the FA to announce the following:
Joey Barton has been suspended from football and all football activity for 18 months with immediate effect after he admitted an FA misconduct charge in relation to betting.
Following the Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, the Burnley midfielder was also fined £30,000 and warned as to his future conduct.
A little rich coming from an organisation and sport that is so heavily dependent on the gambling industry, but hey-ho.
Barton responded with a statement of his own made through his personal website, in which he conceded that the suspension will “effectively force him into an early retirement.”
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.
Burnley also released a statement to confirm that Barton is planning to appeal the length of his suspension and that “no further comment” will be forthcoming in the meanwhile.