Barton wrong to blame bookmakers
Mark Langdon isn’t convinced by Joey Barton’s claims against the FA
JOEY BARTON has been banned from all football activity for 18 months after the Burnley midfielder admitted a Football Association charge over allegations that he placed 1,260 football bets between March 26 2006 and May 13 2016.
Barton is to appeal the severity of the ban and any judgement on whether he has been wronged by the length of suspension can only really be made once we have full knowledge of the facts.
It never makes for great reading when, as Barton admits, he placed bets on his own side to lose, even if it was for relatively small amounts and even if he was not in the matchday squad at the time.
Barton says there was never any question of match-fixing, that his integrity is not in question, and that he has “fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem”.
Maybe the FA need to deal with problem gamblers within the game better, and it could be argued there is too much betting-related marketing rammed down the throats of football fans, but Barton is wrong to blame the FA’s relationship with bookmakers for his misdemeanours.
Barton said: “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.”
In September 2007 the law changed to allow sports betting to be advertised on TV. Before that it was only football pools, the National Lottery and bingo premises and this is where Barton’s claim falls down.
Barton says: “There is a huge clash between their rules and the culture that surrounds the modern game, where 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.”
However, Barton was breaking the rules as early as 2006. He opposed his Manchester City side at West Ham and laid Georgios Samaras to score first against Fulham on Betfair long before betting advertising was commonplace in football.