Newcastle United have suspended midfielder Joey Barton until further notice, the Premier League club said today.
Barton was shown a straight red card for a wild tackle on Xabi Alonso during Newcastle's 3-0 defeat by Liverpool on Sunday.
Stand-in manager Alan Shearer condemned the challenge, saying Barton had let down himself and the club. Local media reported that Shearer had rowed with the player in the dressing-room after the match and fined him two weeks' wages.
With three games remaining, and Newcastle three points adrift of safety, Barton will incur an automatic three-game suspension from the FA anyway for his red card, prematurely ending another controversial and injury-hit season.
"Newcastle United can confirm that Joey Barton has been suspended from the club until further notice," the club said in a statement on their website (www.nufc.premiumtv.co.uk).
"The club will be making no further comment on the matter at this time."
Barton, who joined Newcastle for £5.8mfrom Manchester City two years ago, was making his first appearance since January after recovering from a foot injury.
"I thought he could do something different," Shearer said after the game. "But I didn't think he'd go on and get a red card. I'd asked him not to do that."
Barton, 26, still has a suspended six-game ban hanging over his head following his training-ground assault on former City team mate Ousmane Dabo in 2007.
Last year he was jailed for 77 days after an assault in Liverpool city centre in December 2007.