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By ESPN Staff

Hughes to decide Barton punishment

Mark Hughes will decide what club punishment to hand down to captain Joey Barton for his conduct during Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Manchester City, QPR owner Tony Fernandes said on Monday.

A tense final day of the season saw QPR avoid relegation from the Premier League despite their loss, but the positive outcome for the Londoners was overshadowed by Barton's red card.

The controversial midfielder was sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez and then kicked Sergio Aguero and tried to headbutt Vincent Kompany before being escorted off the pitch by his team-mates.

The Rangers captain will now be banned for the Londoners' first four games next season but he could end up with a longer suspension - possibly up to nine matches.

Fernandes, who bought the club last summer, insists he will not get involved in determining any internal punishment QPR hand down to the 29-year-old.

"I will leave that to the manager and the chief executive (Phil Beard),'' Fernandes told Sky Sports News. "Now we just want to focus on the positives. It's a little bit early to talk about that.

"I will not step in. My goal at the club is to bring in the right infrastructure and the right people, I leave the manager to manage the players. Of course the board will be involved, but we will let him come to us and say: 'This is what I would like to do'.''

Barton today denied trying to deflect attention away from his behaviour as he waited to learn the extent of the Football Association's action against him.

Last night saw Barton launch an expletive-laden attack on his former manager at Newcastle and current Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer. But he denied accusations from presenter Gary Lineker that his attack on Shearer was an attempt to deflect attention away from his conduct.

Barton today posted on Twitter: "No deflections here mate. Think the fact about 100m people seen it will see to that. Just don't like how he goes personal... Right enough about yesterday, I apologise to everyone offended by it. If that's not enough for some, so be it. Life is too short.

"Things happen on the pitch, in the heat of battle sometimes. Not how we always plan them to happen. For there are brighter sides to life and I should know because I seen them, but not very often...''

Barton's career has been dogged by controversy and Sunday's dismissal was the second time he had received a red card this season. Barton tweeted on Sunday night: "Can do nothing but apologise to the players and fans. Still don't think it is a sending off. Still not my proudest moment but who gives a f***. We are safe.

"The head was never gone at any stage. Once I'd been sent off, one of our players suggested I should try to take 1 of theirs with me. Never worked but god loves a trier. Think a few people are forgetting Tevez started the fracas by throwing a punch to the head.''

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