Joey Barton's betting ban has been reduced by almost five months on appeal, which means that should he opt not to retire, Barton will be eligible to play for any club by the 1st June 2018 - giving him an outside chance of returning to professional football.
The decision by the FA lead to his contract being terminated by Burnley in May, as Barton had placed 1,260 bets on football matches and competitions in the space of 10 years. As a breach of FA rules, this saw his banned from footballing activity for 18 months - which English football's governing body announced was being reduced on Thursday.
This reduction in his sentence was the result of an Appeal Board hearing last week, where Barton challenged his suspension from all footballing activity. Barton's £30,000 fine will still stand, but the reduction in the suspension may give Barton the chance to return to football in the future.
Looking into detail of the report, the FA state the initial ban was 'excessive in the circumstances\ and punished Barton for his addiction, neglecting the more serious consequences of a gambling problem.
The FA said the new ban "reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation including the full extent of Mr Barton's addiction".