Barton suspension 'harsh' - Dyche

Joey Barton
Joey Barton
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Clarets boss Sean Dyche feels midfielder Joey Barton's 18-month FA suspension for gambling offences is "a bit harsh".

And he hopes the Football Association now turn their attention on diving as they look to clean up the game.

Dyche was aware of the irony, speaking about gambling in football while talking with a Dafabet logo on his training shirt, in front of an advertising board bearing the Phillipines' company's name, and said on Barton: "He feels it’s a bit harsh. It’s something before he came back with us. He’s disappointed.

"We feel it’s a bit harsh. I don’t know how you balance these things in football.

"The legend that is Eric Cantona got a nine month ban. We know the rules and I must make that clear.

"There’s no intent other than his own personal gambling, no attempt to change games. 18 months seems a long time to me.

"The FA have a role and we respect that decision. They’re obviously showing strength in these decisions, I only assume they’re going to move on to cheating, diving. I’m sure they’ll move on to the bigger picture."

But does the ban shine a light on a problem of gambling in the game? "I don’t know. Due to the banning aspect you don’t hear much about it now.

"You imagine they’re doing it behind the scenes. I don’t know enough about addiction, but I know about Joey to know that’s what he’s feeling.

"I think this will enhance that. I hope it does. To be fair in my experience, the PFA was always there to help people. They do a lot of good work. They’re always working on the education side."

Gambling companies sponsor 10 of the 20 Premier League clubs, whereas there is a ban, for example, on tobacco firms sponsoring sport.

Does Dyche feel it is hypocritical to bear the Dafabet logo? "I think it’s the reality. Football’s a massive business. It’s the controlling powers of football. They can decide whether it’s relevant.

"I struggle to put £2 on a roulette table. I don’t understand betting."

And what education is available for players with an issue? "The thing you’ve got to remember, if you say 'don’t gamble', you can’t force anyone to do that.

"The PFA in my experience, highlight things important to you as a footballer.

"Reaffirming the facts of it, 'don’t gamble when you’re in football' is a strong message.

"The pleasing thing forJoey is that his integrity is intact. No angles to it, that’s it.

As to Barton's future, Dyche was well aware of the eventuality of this, and has options to replace him in Ashley Westwood and Steven Defour: "We thought there was a chance of this of course.

"As a business, that side was taken care of. We didn’t want it to get in the way that he was a worthwhile player to bring back.

"We gave him the platform to affect us in a positive manner. We move forward. It’s another opportunity for someone to come in.

"We’ll see. I’m long enough to know all players are important. I’m not overthinking that."

And could Barton pull on a Burnley shirt again: "That’s too far out of our hands to even consider that. He will appeal and we’ll have to see how it goes."

Barton is unable to train, appeal or not, and was not at Gawthorpe today.

Dyche explained: "He doesn’t need support. He’s a man, he’s not a boy.

"He knows about professional football. Look after your family, let the dust settle. It’s the harshness of it. He’ll be fine."