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Banning’s too good for him

QPR captain Joey Barton has been issued with a 12-match ban after being found guilty of two counts of violent. conduct.

It’s a harsh sentence, significantly longer than eight-match ban Luis Suarez received for racially abusing Patrice Evra and longer than the 11-match suspension meted out to Paolo Di Canio after he pushed over referee Paul Alcock. The ban is one of the longest issued by the FA, and reflects less the severity of this particular misdemeanour, and more on the fact that Barton, for all his attempts to portray himself as renaissance man, is actually a habitual re-offender.

The chairman of the regulatory commission stated after the hearing: “There are rules of conduct that should be adhered to, and such behaviour tarnishes the image of football in this country, particularly as this match was the pinnacle of the domestic season and watched by millions around the globe.”

A bizarre statement. Surely the severity of the punishment should not be determined by the significance of the match, nor the size of the television audience.

So, QPR are stuck with a well-renumerated player on the pay roll who can neither play nor, given his reputation and lengthy suspension, be sold. A clearer case of lose-lose it would be hard to find.

However, one suspects that for Rangers, the suspension itself is not their main concern; when he’s served it and is available for selection again, that’s when their real problems will begin.

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