SEAN DYCHE says he is baffled how Joey Barton has been banned for 18 months for gambling offences – when Eric Cantona ‘only’ got nine months for his infamous Kung-Fu kick.
The Burnley boss argues the incident, when the Manchester United star jumped into the crowd and attacked a fan, was far more damaging to the game than Barton’s self-confessed addiction.
Dyche commented: “Like Joey himself said – he feels it’s a bit harsh, and so do we.
Keep up to date with ALL the Burnley news, gossip, transfers and goals on our club page plus fixtures, results and live match commentary.
“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, so 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, like the constant diving that goes on. I’m sure they’ll move on to the bigger picture.”
Dyche said when Burnley decided to offer Barton a short-term contract earlier this season, following his ill-fated stint with Rangers, it reflected the fact that the gambling charges were hanging over him.
He added: “We thought there was a chance of a ban of course. As a business, that side was taken care of.
“But 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, and he did that.
“No we have to move forward. It’s another opportunity for someone to come in. It’s impossible to say whether Joey has a future here.
“That’s too far out of our hands to even consider that. He will appeal and we’ll have to see how it goes.
“I told Joey to go home and look after his family, and to get his head round what’s happened.
“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.
“I find it hard to comment on what he’s done, because I struggle to put £2 on a bet. I don’t understand gambling .
“But Joey knew the rules. The pleasing thing for him though, is that his integrity is intact.
“The FA made it very clear there was no suggestion of him trying to influence games, or anything like that.
“It was just about him breaking the rules governing betting on matches. There were no other angles to it. That’s it.”