Joey Barton has been banned for 18 months after admitting an FA charge in relation to betting.
The Burnley midfielder, 34, has also been fined £30,000 after placing 1,260 bets on football matches between March 26, 2006 and May 13, 2016.
Barton revealed in a statement on his website that he plans to appeal against the length of his suspension, saying the FA’s decision forces him into “an early retirement”.
“I accept that I broke the rules governing professional footballers, but I do feel the penalty is heavier than it might be for other less controversial players,” Barton wrote in a defiant 1,500-word statement.
“I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem. I’m disappointed it wasn’t taken into proper consideration.
“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.”
Barton backed his own team to lose
Rather alarmingly, Barton even backed his own team to lose on occasion.
“On the few occasions where I placed a bet on my own team to lose, I was not involved in the match day squad for any of those games,” he added. “I did not play. I was not even on the bench.”
He revealed 30 bets he placed
The former Manchester City, Newcastle United and QPR player revealed 30 of his “most pertinent bets”.
That included three single bets on City’s home game against Fulham in 2006.
Barton backed his team to win (£600 stake) and for himself to be the first goalscorer (£3 stake). Neither of those came in, so the midfielder lost £603.
Barton layed Samaras to score first
The third single, however, was successful. Barton layed teammate Georgios Samaras to score first – meaning he backed the Greek NOT to score the opening goal.
It came in. Richard Dunne scored to give City a 1-0 lead and Barton made a £5 profit on his £5 stake.
Barton was involved in Dunne’s goal. He floated in the free-kick that Micah Richards knocked into the centre-back’s path.
Barton played a part in City’s first goal
This is where the situation gets murky.
Samaras was on the pitch at the time Barton took the set-piece. Was his bet playing on his mind when he directed the free-kick away from the striker?
We’ll probably never find out. Watch the goal below, and note Samaras’ position in relation to where Barton aims his kick.