Joey Barton claims that gambling and match-fixing in English football is rife
Joey Barton has claimed that match-fixing is rife in English football but that the Football Association is ill-equipped to deal with the growing problem.
In April, Barton was banned from football for 18 months after admitting an FA charge in relation to betting.
The 34-year-old was also fined £30,000 and warned about his future conduct. Barton, who suffers from addiction to gambling, claims that the length of the ban has effectively ended his professional career.
And now, in an interview with the Sunday Times, Barton has claimed that match-fixing – rather than players gambling – is the real enemy, and that the FA is failing to properly deal with the growing problem.
“There is no doubt about it,” said Barton when asked if match-fixing occurs in English football.
“You hear the results and you’re, like, ‘Yeah.’” It’s what happens if you allow people not getting paid and clubs going into administration. All of a sudden people get desperate. [Fixing] is an evil the FA are oblivious to.
“We only know about the games that have been highlighted, where someone couldn’t keep their mouth shut, but how many more are there?
“They didn’t know about me and I was betting in plain view for 12 years. So, I’d have to ask are they equipped to know? And do they want to know?”
Barton has also claimed that he is far from the only professional footballer to bet on football matches – something in breach of the FA’s new betting laws.
In 2014, the FA brought in new rules banning players and staff at clubs down to as far as the eighth tier of the English men's football pyramid, as well as at clubs in the Women's Super League, from betting on any global football match or competition.
But Barton has said these rules are flouted on a regular basis.
“Oh yeah there are players in every dressing room. One thing footballers have in common is they love betting. Because they’re competitors,” he said.
“It happens on a huge scale. Are the FA going to investigate? No, because if they do they’re going to have to give all these players 18 months.
“I was an outlier on volume [of bets] but there’ll be outliers on wagers staked. I’ve been in dressing rooms with players, where they’ve a hundred grand staked on mad stuff. On one bet. Scary. A lot bet massive figures.”
“I’ve seen players who’ve played in World Cups go out on the pitch and not get anywhere near as much of a buzz from that, or scoring goals, as from betting on the horses.”
Barton is currently in the midst of appealing his 18-month suspension from football for betting on matches.
Independent News Service