LONDON (AP) – Premier League player Joey Barton has been banned for 18 months after placing 1,260 bets on soccer over the last 11 years, including games he played in.
The 34-year-old midfielder says the sanction by the English Football Association ''effectively forces me into an early retirement from playing football.'' He says he plans to appeal.
Barton started his career at Manchester City and went on to play for Newcastle, Queens Park Rangers, French side Marseille and Glasgow club Rangers. He has been at Burnley since January.
The FA bans players from betting on any aspect of soccer, but the governing body has its own gambling sponsor.
Barton says ''if the FA is serious about tackling gambling I would urge it to reconsider its own dependence on the gambling industry.''