Barton accepts FA ban for punching Pedersen

Midfielder apologises for 'reacting badly' and will serve three-match ban, starting against Fulham

The Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton has accepted a three-match ban from the Football Association for punching Blackburn Rovers' Morten Gamst Pedersen on Wednesday night.

Barton admitted he was at fault and apologised to the Norwegian. "I fully accept that I was in the wrong on this occasion and accept the charge that the FA have brought against me," he said. "This season I have really been enjoying my football and, although I have been on the receiving end of a few robust challenges, I have, up until now, remained calm in the face of provocation and just carried on with the game.

"But I hold my hands up, I reacted badly to the situation on Wednesday night and I deeply regret it."

The player could have requested a personal hearing that would have allowed him to delay the violent conduct charge, handed down yesterday under the FA's new fast-track disciplinary process, permitting him to play against Fulham tomorrow. However, the player, who was caught on camera felling Pedersen with a right-handed punch to the Norwegian's chest, instead begins the suspension at St James'.

Any appeal would have been heard by a three-man independent commission and that commission would have had the right to increase Barton's punishment from three matches. With such compelling evidence, there would have been a strong case for the 28-year-old to receive an even longer ban. Rio Ferdinand had his ban extended by one game for what was described by a disciplinary commission as a "frivolous appeal" against the original three-match charge for striking Hull City's Craig Fagan in January.

Mike Jones, the match referee at St James' Park, did not see the incident and was sent the video footage by the FA's governance department to review yesterday. Jones subsequently told the FA that had he seen Barton strike Pedersen he would have given him a red card at the time for violent conduct.

The incident took place while Jones was booking David Hoilett for diving. In the immediate aftermath, Barton tried to pretend to Pedersen that he had just slapped him in the chest and the footage of the incident shows Pedersen smiling in disbelief at the Newcastle player's explanation.

Newcastle's manager, Chris Hughton, originally defended Barton but the incident was a depressing return to form by a volatile player who has promised repeatedly to change his ways. Barton gave an interview before the derby against Sunderland on 31 October in which he said he did not want to leave "a legacy of being a lunatic", having served 77 days in prison in 2008 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He told the News of the World: "Because of the position I played and the outlook I had, I wanted to be nasty. I didn't want people thinking I was a soft touch. But it's actually all right to say, 'I'm an all right guy'. It's all right to be nice, it's not a sign of weakness.

"The cell door closed and I just thought, 'How the fuck did I get here?' I asked myself, 'Do you want to go back to that and where that could possibly lead, or do you want to change?' That is it for me."

Privately, his club find it difficult to understand, given some impressive recent performances, why the player reacted as he did to Pedersen.

Barton's charge sheet

Dec 2004 Stubs cigar out in the eye of a Man City trainee. Fined six weeks' wages.

May 2005 Breaks leg of pedestrian while driving at 2am in Liverpool.

July Involved in an altercation with Everton supporter on tour of Thailand.

March 2007 Arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage after an alleged argument with taxi driver in Liverpool. Later cleared.

May Attacks City team-mate Ousmane Dabo during training. Joins Newcastle.

Dec Arrested in Liverpool city centre in connection with allegation of assault.

May 2008 Jailed for six months after admitting assault and affray.

July Receives four-month suspended sentence for assault on Dabo.

Sept Receives 12-match ban from the FA and fined £25,000 over Dabo incident.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own