English Premier League’s Joey Barton Banned from Soccer for Gambling Offenses

Posted on: April 27, 2017, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: April 27, 2017, 12:14h.

English Premier League star and Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has been banned from soccer for 18 months after admitting gambling on games.

Joey Barton banned from soccer for gambling
Joey Barton has said he will appeal against the ban handed down by the FA on Tuesday and called for the governing body to examine its own financial dependence on gambling companies. (Image: Sky Sports)

At 34, already long-in-the-tooth for a soccer player, the ban handed down by English soccer’s governing body, the FA, on Wednesday is likely to end his career.

Barton, a controversial and divisive figure in English soccer, admitted to having placed 1,260 bets on matches between 2006 and 2013, including at least five in which he was a player. Professional soccer players are barred from making any bets on their own sport, whether they are involved in the games or not.

The 34-year-old has been fined £30,000 ($39,000) and warned about his future conduct, although the latter point may now be academic.

Betfair Blew the Whistle

Barton, who says he is a gambling addict, publicly criticized the decision on his website Thursday, branding it “excessive” and said that he planned to appeal.

“I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem,” he said. “I’m disappointed it wasn’t taken into proper consideration.

“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,” he added.

Beginning in 2004, Barton placed over 15,000 bets across a range of sports,of which 1,260 were on soccer, staking an average of £150 ($194) per bet. But in 2016, Betfair apparently blew the whistle on the soccer player, contacting the FA about its famous client’s betting habits.

Barton admitted on his website that he had placed several bets on his team to lose over the years, but never, he said, when he was picked to play.

“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,” said Barton.

Controversial Figure

Barton’s career has been dogged by controversy. As a young player he had a violent streak, on and off the field. In his very early days he was suspended for two weeks and fined six weeks’ wages for stubbing out a cigar in the eye of teammate Jamie Tandy, who subsequently sued him.

In 2007 he was charged with assaulting another teammate, for which he received a four-month suspended prison sentence. The following year he was sentenced to six months in prison for an assault on a member of the public in Liverpool city center.  

But the advent of social media revealed a surprisingly sensitive side to Barton; that he was a man focused on self-improvement, who read avidly and studied philosophy and had sought treatment for anger problems.