Thu, Apr 27, 3:57pm by Head Editor
Burnley midfielder Joey Barton is set to appeal to the Football Association (FA) after he was handed an 18 month ban for placing upwards of 1200 bets on matches in the last seven years.
The 34-year old has also called on the sport he loves to reconsider its links with the gambling industry after receiving the ban that he believes will end his career.
As per FA rule E8, players are not allowed to bet on the outcome or any other aspects of games but Barton describes himself as an addict who grew up in a culture where gambling was normalised.
He admits to placing more than 15,000 bets on sport since 2004, but it was the 1260 bets placed on matches between March 2006 and May 2013 that has seen him banned and fined, he was also fined 30,000 pounds ($52,000).
He is likely to appeal but even when he does there is no guarantee he would be allowed to play pending a decision. This is not good news for Burnley, who are currently sitting 16th in the Premier League and locked in a relegation battle, just five points above the drop zone, with four games to play.
The man who played one international for England in 2007, has been outspoken right throughout his career, and that has continued in this instance with a 1500-word statement on his website.
“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,” he wrote.
“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. I think 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 then goes on to raise questions about football links with gambling, which will potentially cause more debate than the fact that he has been banned.
“Throughout my career I am someone who has made mistakes and owned up to those mistakes and tried to learn from them. I intend to do that here. I accept that this is one more mess I got into because of my own behaviour,” he said.
“This episode has brought home to me that just as I had to face up to the need to get help to deal with alcohol abuse, and with anger, so now I need to get help for my issues with gambling, and I will do so.”
Many have commiserated with the points he raises and talkback radio in the UK has been running hot regarding the topic, with the public split on the issue.
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