Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for breaking the FA’s rules on gambling has raised question marks about whether or not the punishment was too excessive.
The Governing body has claimed that the length of time given to the Burnley player could have actually been around seven years, and that the 34-year-old got off lightly.
The FA issued a report stating Barton made 15 bets on his own side to lose, and even though he didn’t take part in any of the matches, the minimum suspension outlined is six months per bet on one’s own team.
The ban effectively ends the midfielder’s Premier League career as he will be 36 by the time he returns to action, and will find it extremely difficult to resume the same playing standard as when he left.
When you consider Barton hasn’t actually harmed anyone, and when comparing it to other high-profile bans in world football, it does seem slightly harsh on the player who’s never been far away from controversy.
We take a look at six of football’s most lengthy bans to see how they compare:
Eric Cantona – 9 months
Perhaps the most high-profile ban in world football. Manchester United’s Eric Cantona was fined £20,000 in 1995 for launching a kung-fu style kick on a Crystal Palace fan in the stands after being sent off. The striker then threw several punches at the supporter before police and stewards managed to pull him off. Cantona was stripped of his captaincy for France and was ordered to serve 120 hours community service for the attack.
Mark Bosnich – 9 months
The Chelsea goalkeeper was sacked by his club in 2002 after testing positive for cocaine in a random drug test. Bosnich claimed his drink had been spiked whilst in a club but he was still relieved of his Blues contract and banned from any football activity. The former Manchester United player later admitted that he did have a cocaine addiction, but he only developed it after he was banned from playing.
Luis Suarez – 8 matches
The Liverpool striker was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a game at Anfield in 2011. Suarez was fined £40,000 by the FA for allegedly calling the defender a ‘Negro’, but he denied all allegations that were made against him. Liverpool backed the Uruguayan striker during the ban and he has since reinstated that he isn’t a racist.
Luis Suarez – 10 matches
Suarez found himself in the bad books again, this time by biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic during a Premier League match in 2013. It was the second time the player had bitten an opponent, after being suspended for seven games for an incident involving PSV’s Otman Bakkal whilst playing for Ajax in 2010. Unbelievably, Suarez was punished again for biting during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was fined £65,000 and given a four month ban for an alteration with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.
Vinnie Jones – 6 months
The Wimbledon hard-man was given a six-month ban, suspended for three years, for his part in a video that glorified football violence. The film featured players known for their hard tackling and no-nonsense style of play, but was accompanied by Jones’ enthusiastic commentary that encouraged dirty tricks to intimidate opponents. The striker was fined £20,000.
Joey Barton – 6 matches
It seems Joey Barton has been here before. The player was banned and fined £150,000 for a training ground bust-up with Manchester team-mate Ousmane Dabo in 2008. Barton went to court over the incident and pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm. Dabo suffered head trauma, an inflamed eye and bruised eyelids following the attack.
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