London (AFP) – Controversial midfielder Joey Barton returned to the Premier League on Monday after re-signing for Burnley despite having a charge of misconduct hanging over him for alleged betting.
The 34-year-old Englishman, who played a leading role in Burnley’s promotion back to the Premier League last term, has been training with the squad since a short and troubled spell at Scottish Premiership outfit Rangers came to a premature end after a bust-up.
“Burnley Football Club can confirm that following detailed discussions regarding the recent FA charge brought against Joey Barton, the club have now reached an agreement with the player and his representatives over a contract with the club until the end of the season,” said a club statement.
“Barton becomes available for selection from January 3 after completing his registration in time to serve a one-match suspension against Manchester City as a result of a carry-over suspension passed down from the Scottish FA relating to a previous offence.”
The FA charged Barton, who won one cap for England, just before Christmas alleging he placed 1,260 bets on football from March 2006 to May 2016.
Barton, who has been involved in a succession of ugly incidents on and off the pitch throughout his career, was frozen out at Rangers after he had a row with manager Mark Warburton following the 5-1 thrashing by bitter rivals Celtic in September.
He was made to train with Rangers’ under-20 team following a six-week suspension for that offence and was then signed off one day later due to “stress”.
He was also slapped with a one-match ban by the Scottish Football Association (SFA) for violating betting rules while playing for Rangers.
Barton admitted breaching the SFA’s strict rules barring players betting on matches, even if they don’t involve their own club, which were implemented in a bid to preserve sporting integrity.
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