18-month ban from FA forces Joey Barton into 'early retirement'

Barton accepted an FA misconduct charge Credit: PA

The FA have suspended Joey Barton from "football and all football activity" for 18 months after he admitted a misconduct charge in relation to betting.

Barton is alleged to have placed 1,260 bets on football matches between March 2006 and May 2013.

Barton announced that the decision effectively forces him into an "early retirement", but confirms he will be appealing the ban.

Noting his long ban and £30,000 fine, Barton wrote that he was "very disappointed at the harshness of the sanction", particularly as there was no suggestion of match-fixing.

"I am very disappointed at the harshness of the sanction. The decision effectively forces me into an early retirement from playing football," Barton said on his website.

"To be clear from the outset here this is not match fixing and at no point in any of this is my integrity in question.

"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 will appeal the 18-month suspension Credit: PA

"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."

"Having consulted with my friends and lawyers, I have decided I will be appealing against the length of the ban. I hope that I shall be afforded a fair hearing by an independent Appeal Panel."

The 34-year-old midfielder started his career with Manchester City and has played for Newcastle, QPR, Marseille and Rangers. He also has one full England cap.