Rangers man Joey Barton charged over 44 football match bets

Joey Barton was recently sent home from training. Credit: PA

Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has been charged with making 44 bets on football matches, the Scottish Football Association has announced.

Barton, who move to Ibrox over the summer, is accused of placing the bets between 1 July and 15 September in contravention to Disciplinary Rule 31.

The former Manchester City player has until Wednesday 12 October to respond.

Two former Rangers players are among those to have been punished for breaching the SFA's blanket ban on football betting.

Goalkeeper Steve Simonsen missed one game after betting on 55 matches and Ian Black earlier served a three-match suspension for gambling on 140 matches, including several he played in. The midfielder scored in a 4-2 victory over East Stirlingshire after predicting the Gers would draw in an accumulator.

But the SFA charge leaves Barton even more vulnerable after his club suspension cast major doubt on whether he would play for Rangers again.

Barton is due to return to training at Rangers on Monday after he was told to stay away from the club for three weeks in the messy aftermath to the club's 5-1 Old Firm derby defeat to Celtic on September 10.

Barton was initially banished from the club after he was involved in a training-ground row with team-mates following the Celtic Park defeat.

Talks with manager Mark Warburton and board members then failed to resolve the situation and the England cap was told to stay away from the club for three weeks.

Barton was also told not to speak to the media after further angering Warburton by giving a radio interview when he claimed the manager's decision to send him home had been ''strange''.