Professional footballer Joey Barton who currently plays in the English Premier league for Burnley has been banned from playing football for 18 months which he says ‘forces me into an early retirement’. Barton is no stranger to the spotlight and has always enjoyed media attention, until now. He has already decided to appeal against the ban claiming that he has always been fighting against a “gambling addiction” and that he has never and would never consider match fixing in his life. So this leaves us with one vital question; why is the ban so long? We have seen players physically bite somebody in the middle of a game and be banned for a much shorter period than this!
Let’s just say that Joey has had a very interesting career playing all over England and Scotland and even played for French team Marseille for a season! He has always managed to play top flight football in whatever country he has played and has also managed to bring some sort of controversy with him at most clubs. Many people rate him as the most hated individual currently playing football. But that doesn’t mean that it is acceptable to force him into early retirement with this ban.
The FA (Football association) has fined the 34-year-old Thirty thousand pounds as well as forcing him to stop playing football for the next 18 months. This is because Barton placed 1,260 bets on matches between the 26’th of March 2006 and the 13’th of May 2016 via betfair and although there were no cases of match fixing this still breaks the FA’s rules surrounding betting. Joey has said that he provided the FA with a medical report about his gambling addiction and also believes that it was a different, less controversial player they may have gotten off with a lighter charge! You can read his full reply to the FA here http://www.joeybarton.com/betting-statement/
There is no denying that Barton broke the Football associations rules and regulations, he himself accepts this but it is the length of the ban which surprises most people in the footballing and gambling world alike. If he had been charged with match-fixing then this would be an understandable length of time. Barton didn’t hold back in his statement saying that “if the FA is truly serious about tackling the culture of gambling in football, it needs to look at its own dependence on the gambling companies, their role in football and in sports broadcasting, rather than just blaming the players who place a bet”. Many professionals and members of the public have decided to take Joey’s side of the argument and are challenging the FA’s decision. We wish Barton all the best and hope to see him playing football again in the near future!