Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Burnley midfielder Joey Barton is to appeal the length of his sanction, after being banned for 18 months and fined £30,000 for breaching FA rules on betting. ‘Having consulted with my friends and lawyers, I have decided I will be appealing against the length of the ban’, said Barton in a statement. He added he was ‘disappointed at the harshness of the sanction’, which he argues ‘effectively forces me into early retirement’.
In his statement, Barton argued that he has fought addiction to gambling and has provided the FA with a medical report about his condition. He added that the plethora of gambling advertising within modern football meant that asking a footballer with such an addiction to stop gambling is ‘like asking a recovering alcoholic to spend all his time in a pub or brewery’.
‘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’, read his statement. ‘Anyone who watches follows football on TV or in the stadia is bombarded by marketing, advertising and sponsorship by betting companies, and where much of the coverage now, on Sky for example, is intertwined with the broadcasters’ own gambling interests’.
In his statement, Barton provided details on some of the 1,260 bets he had placed between 2004 and 2011, a few of which were placed on his own team to lose when he had not been picked to play. ‘I had no more ability to influence the outcome than had I been betting on darts, snooker, or a cricket match in the West Indies’, he argued. According to Barton’s statement, the average bet was £150, the highest was £600 and the lowest £3.
‘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’, read an FA statement. ‘Following the Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, the Burnley midfielder was also fined £30,000 and warned as to his future conduct’.
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