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By ESPN Staff

FA belatedly charge Barton over Dabo assault

Just three days after his release from prison, Joey Barton has fallen foul of the footballing authorities once again.

The Newcastle United midfielder was belatedly charged with violent conduct by the Football Association over his training ground assault on Ousmane Dabo 15 months ago.

Barton, 25, was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, on July 1 after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm on his former Manchester City team-mate in May last year.

The FA were unable to launch their own investigation into the incident - of which there is no video footage - until the completion of the criminal investigation and court case.

That fact has not assuaged his current employers, however, who immediately voiced their discontent when the FA charge was handed out.

'Newcastle United can confirm that it has received documentation from the Football Association stating that it is charging Joey Barton with misconduct in relation to the incident that occurred with Ousmane Dabo in May 2007, at a time when he was a registered player of Manchester City,' a club statement read

'The club has sought clarification from the Football Association as to why this decision has been reached now, given the incident occurred nearly 15 months ago.

'Joey will be requesting a personal hearing in relation to the charge and the club will be making no further comment on the matter at this time.'

The new charge from the FA comes as a result of the criminal hearing at Manchester Crown Court after football's governing body received all the relevant documentation from the case.

Barton now has until August 13 to respond to the charge.

There is no maximum sentence which could be issued to Barton by the FA and, given the severity of the attack on Dabo, a lengthy ban and possible fine would be the likely outcome were he found culpable.

Speaking days after the assault by Barton, Dabo, who has also since left City to rejoin Lazio, said: 'I went to turn around, he hit me and knocked me out.

'He is a despicable coward, it wasn't a fair fight. I am disfigured.'

The FA case will be heard by an independent regulatory commission on an as yet unspecified date.

It is understood that the FA will strongly contest any claim by Barton that further punishment for the offence would be a case of 'double jeopardy', given that an employee in any industry would expect to suffer professionally for a criminal offence committed at work.

When Eyal Berkovic was kicked in the head by West Ham team-mate John Hartson during a training session in October 1998, he was fined £20,000 and banned for three matches the following February, although the FA admit there is no direct precedent for such a severe, non-match attack.

When then Manchester City defender Ben Thatcher knocked out Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes with a forearm smash during a game two years ago he was banned for eight games, with a further 15 suspended for two years.

It is believed the Dabo incident is considered to be of an at least equal severity at Soho Square, although it will be up to the independent commission to decide if the two attacks are comparable.

The FA's charge comes just three days after Barton was released from Strangeways prison in Manchester after serving 74 days of a six-month sentence for beating up a teenager in Liverpool city centre last December.

Newcastle wasted no time in offering their support to the controversial midfielder who earned a solitary England cap in February 2007.

However, Barton's boot sponsors Nike yesterday confirmed they had terminated their deal with the Huyton-born player.

Trouble has followed Barton throughout his career with previous misdemeanours including a fight with a 15-year-old fan during a pre-season trip to Bangkok in 2005 and an incident at a Christmas party in 2004 when he stubbed a cigar out in the eye of City youngster Jamie Tandy.


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