City seeking Barton justice

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Manchester City have written to Hampshire Police for an explanation as to why Joey Barton was alleged to have made offensive gestures to Portsmouth supporters at Fratton Park last weekend.

City are furious with what manager Stuart Pearce has described as a "witch-hunt", with Portsmouth, a senior steward at Fratton Park and the local police force accused of making Barton a victim of reputation following his dangerous challenge on Pedro Mendes during the visitors' 2-1 defeat.

Officials from the club have been in talks with their Portsmouth counterparts over the past 48 hours and are believed to have asked for an apology from Harry Redknapp for accusing the midfielder of deliberately attempting to injure Mendes. They also want an explanation as to why a complaint the 24-year-old made offensive gestures at full time was passed on to the media by a Portsmouth steward. City are prepared to lodge a protest with the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

"An unnamed officer at Hampshire police purported to have seen something that did not happen," said City spokesman Paul Tyrrell. "We have written to the police asking for an explanation."

The Football Association, which this week charged Portsmouth manager Redknapp with allegedly abusing the match official Mike Dean over his handling of Barton's challenge, have received the complaint from Hampshire Police and are considering whether disciplinary action is required.

Tyrrell added: "We would like to think the FA will expedite this so we can put the matter to bed. We have spoken to the FA because there is clearly no evidence of Joey conducting himself in anything other than the right and professional way."