Joey Barton charged with betting on 44 matches


Glasgow (AFP) – Controversial Rangers midfielder Joey Barton was issued with a formal “notice of complaint” by the Scottish Football Association on Wednesday after being accused of betting on football matches.

The SFA issued a statement on Wednesday in which it English footballer Barton placed 44 bets between July 1 and September 15 this year.

Barton has until next Wednesday, October 12 to respond, with a principal hearing date set for October 27.

The SFA’s action follows reports in several British media outlets last month that Barton was under investigation for allegedly breaking betting rules.

The Press Association and several newspapers said the SFA were looking into claims Barton bet on Celtic, Rangers’ arch Glasgow rivals, to lose heavily prior to their 7-0 Champions League defeat by Barcelona.

Betting on football matches by players is strictly forbidden by the SFA and Barton, 34, could face a ban if found guilty.

Wednesday’s SFA statement said the alleged extent of Barton’s betting went far beyond one match.

“Disciplinary Rule 31: In that between 1st July and 15th September 2016, both dates inclusive, you placed 44 bets upon football matches, and accordingly gambled upon football matches in contravention of Disciplinary Rule 31,” the SFA statement said.

The SFA, in common with a number of leagues, has strict rules barring players from betting on matches, even if they don’t involve their own club, in bid to preserve sporting integrity

The charges against Barton come after he was banned from Rangers duty for three weeks last month over a training-ground row that occurred following Rangers’ 5-1 loss to Celtic.

It has prompted speculation that he may have already played his last game for the club.

After being asked if he was still a Rangers player, Barton told Sky Sports: “I think so.”

Barton signed a two-year contract with Rangers in May following their promotion to the Scottish Premiership.

In newspaper interviews conducted last month, he expressed regret over moving north of the border.

“Reflecting on it, would I have made the same decision (to join Rangers)? Probably not,” he told The Guardian.

Barton, who has a chequered disciplinary record, previously played for Manchester City, Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers and Marseille.

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