The latest footnote in the soap opera that is the life and crimes of Joey Barton is that the Queens Park Rangers captain has been hit with a 12-game ban by the Football Association, following his violent conduct charge in the 3-2 final day Premier League defeat against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on May 13.
The 29-year-old has received the most severe sanction for an on-field incident since Eric Cantona's kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan at Selhurst Park in 1995.
Barton's suspension will mean he is unavailable for selection until November, and with QPR having already launched its own internal investigation into the midfielder's behaviour, he is facing an uncertain future at Loftus Road.
Mark Hughes is ready to wash his hands of the troublesome skipper, and exclude him from Rangers' 25-man Premier League squad next season. The club will hope to reach an agreement for his contract to be cancelled, but with three years still to run on his deal - worth a reported £80,000-a-week - mutual termination may prove difficult.
The ban is made up of an automatic four-match suspension for the initial elbow on Carlos Tevez that led to his sending-off. That punishment was then increased by the FA on Wednesday by a further eight games, for two counts of violent conduct, firstly for kicking Sergio Aguero and then an attempted headbutt on Vincent Kompany.
"This eight-match suspension is to run consecutively to the four-game suspension Barton was already given for his dismissal in the fixture, making a total of 12 matches," said an FA statement. Because the player had already been sent off, the two incidents that occurred in the immediate aftermath fell outside the jurisdiction of the referee.
An independent three-man regulatory commission ruled that both offences accounted for violent conduct charges. "There are rules of conduct that should be adhered to, and such behaviour tarnishes the image of football in this country, particularly as this match was the pinnacle of the domestic season and watched by millions around the globe," said the chairman of the commission.
In light of Barton's unprecedented ban, and £75,000 FA fine, GiveMeFootball looks back on other moments of madness and foul play that resulted in hefty punishments...
Eric Cantona: January 1995
On 25 January 1995, Manchester United travelled to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace in the Premier League. Cantona was sent off for a kick on Richard Shaw, and as he walked towards the tunnel, he launched a 'kung-fu' style kick into the home crowd.
The Frenchman was handed a nine month worldwide ban and ordered to complete 120 hours community service. He was fined £30,000 by the Football Association, and two weeks wages by Sir Alex Ferguson. Cantona was also stripped of the French captaincy for the action.
Paolo Di Canio: September 1998
Sheffield Wednesday's Premier League match against Arsenal at Hillsborough in September 1998 will forever be remembered for the day that the home side's fiery Italian pushed over referee Paul Alcock after being sent off.
In addition to the three-match ban for the red card, Di Canio received a further eight-game suspension - missing a total of 11 matches, and was also fined £10,000 by the FA for his misdemeanour.
David Prutton: February 2005
The former Southampton midfielder was fined £6,000 and given a 10-game ban by the FA for shoving referee Alan Wiley in a Premier League match against Arsenal.
Prutton admitted two counts of improper conduct for laying hands on Wiley in an attempt to reach the assistant referee Paul Norman, who had recommended a second booking for a studs-up tackle on Robert Pires.
His action led to a total suspension of 11 matches, one of which was for the two bookings he received in the game the incident occurred.
Ben Thatcher: August 2006
In a match between Manchester City and Portsmouth, Thatcher gained notoriety for his vicious elbow on midfielder Pedro Mendes, which knocked his opponent out after her clattered the advertising hoardings.
Thatcher was banned for four matches and fined six weeks wages by his club, while the FA suspended him for eight games, with a further fifteen game suspended two year ban.
Luis Suarez: October 2011
The Liverpool striker was banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 after being found guilty of misconduct, regarding "using insulting words towards" Patrice Evra in a Premier League clash against Manchester United at Anfield in October last year.
Suarez was chastised for his actions, despite his club, its fans and former manager Kenny Dalglish protesting his innocence - it was an incident that brought the game into disrepute.
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