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Joey Barton appears to dodge penalty

Joey Barton appears to have escaped punishment over his online comments about Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva after the French Football Federation's ethics council determined that no ruling could be made in the case.

Barton provoked a storm when he used the social networking site Twitter to brand Silva an "overweight ladyboy" earlier this month.

The FFF's National Council of Ethics summoned him to a hearing which took place today, but it ended with no ruling being made in the case.

"The council has not been able to judge this case," CNE president Laurent Davenas said in comments reported by L'Equipe. "There could be problems interpreting statements made in English.

"Furthermore, we have not received any conclusions made by lawyers on Friday night at the FFF. The members of the commission did not have sufficient time. This case also raises particular legal issues. Is Twitter a space for public communication?"

Barton, 30, is currently on loan at Marseille from QPR and has claimed he will be staying with the French club next season, although both clubs have denied any deal is in place.

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