Thursday 6 October 2016

Joey Barton charged by the Scottish FA for breaking gambling rules

Joey Barton

Joey Barton charged by the Scottish FA for alleged betting on 44 matches.

It emerged last month that Barton was under investigation by the SFA and Gambling Commission after claims he had bet on Celtic to suffer a heavy defeat to Barcelona in their opening Champions League match, but now it appears that the allegations against the 34-year-old, who is already serving a club imposed three-week ban after a training ground altercation, run far deeper.

Barton has a week to respond to the charges but the SFA has a strict no-betting policy on football games and if found guilty Barton could face a ban. Rangers' action could be even more draconian.

The players' union, PFA Scotland, issues a briefing every season – and has done so for several years – to remind players that they are prohibited from gambling on football. The Telegraph also understands that Rangers, as part of the club's code of conduct, routinely reinforces the message to all squad members at the start of each season.

These latest charges, alleging a batch of 44 bets between July 1 – Barton's first day as a Rangers player – and Sept 13, two days after the Barcelona game, are yet another in what quickly became a contentious sequence of events for the club's marquee summer signing. Rangers are taking great care to comply with the provisions of employment law as it relates to Barton's contract, which runs until June 2018.

He was told to stay home after a training ground confrontation with his fellow midfielder, Andy Halliday, on Sept 13 and subsequently suspended for three weeks to allow what Rangers termed "time and space required for both the club and the player to assess all that has happened".

Barton is due to return to training next Monday and – in theory at least – could play for Rangers in Inverness on Friday Oct 14, the Ibrox side's only fixture before the second Old Firm derby of the season, the semi-final of the Betfred Scottish League Cup at Hampden Park on Oct 23.

When that bitter rivalry was resumed on Oct 10, in the first league meeting of the teams for four years, Barton and his colleagues were overwhelmed as Celtic romped to a 5-1 victory. Barton's square-up to Halliday occurred in the aftermath of that defeat.

It is not known how much the bookmakers made from his appearance against Celtic but those who outlaid cash at 10/1 on his getting a red card in the fixture were disappointed, although he remained at 7/4 to be sent off against the Hoops at some stage of the season.

He was rated at 5/6 to see 10 or more yellow cards over the season and 4/5 to net five goals or more. On arriving at Rangers he declared that he had moved to Scotland to be "the best player in the country".

The bookmakers responded by offering 16/1 against him being named Scotland's player of the year, a rating that must surely have stretched.



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