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 By PA Sport

Burnley's Joey Barton banned from football for 18 months

Joey Barton rejoined Burnley on a free transfer in January.

Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has been suspended from all football activity for 18 months after admitting a misconduct charge relating to betting, the Football Association has announced.

Barton, 34, is alleged to have placed 1,260 bets on football matches between March 2006 and May 2013.

An FA statement read: "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.

"It was alleged that between 26 March 2006 and 13 May 2016, he placed 1,260 bets on the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in, football matches or competitions in breach of FA Rule E8.

"Following the Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, the Burnley midfielder was also fined £30,000 and warned as to his future conduct.

"Written Reasons will follow in due course."

Barton issued a lengthy statement on his official website, saying he is "very disappointed at the harshness of the sanction" as the "decision effectively forces me into an early retirement from playing football."

The statement added: "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.

"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."

Barton said he has placed over 15,000 bets since 2004 on a range of sports, including more than 1,200 on football, and says the average bet has been for just over £150.

He stressed that he has "given everything" in every game he has played and was not involved in the matchday squads for any of those games.

Barton has served numerous FA bans for misconduct throughout his career and has also twice been convicted on charges of violence, spending 11 weeks in prison in 2008.

He started his career with Manchester City and has played for Newcastle, QPR, Marseille and Rangers. He also has one full England cap.

In January, he rejoined Burnley after a successful stint with the Premier League club in 2015-16 and has played 13 league games this campaign, scoring once.

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