Burnley manager Sean Dyche has questioned the decision to hand Joey Barton an 18-month ban from football after the player admitted to an FA misconduct charge in relation to betting, arguing that it “seems a long time in light of other things I’ve seen in the sport”.
Alongside the suspension, the Burnley midfielder has also been fined £30,000 after admitting to placing 1,260 bets over a 10-year period.
Barton believes the FA's decision "effectively forces him into retirement" given the length of the suspension. The 34-year-old intends to challenge the charge, which he labelled as “harsh”.
Dyche echoed such sentiment as he spoke ahead of his side’s clash with Crystal Palace.
"Joey has been a good part of what we've done here and we all feel it's a bit harsh," the Burnley boss said.
"Eighteen months seems a long time to me in light of other things I've seen in the sport.
"We are certainly not naive, but we thought Joey was a worthwhile player to bring back and he's proved that."
Barton agreed to re-join Burnley in December after a controversial spell with Rangers.
The midfielder has since gone on to establish himself as a key player in Dyche’s side, making 18 appearances for the club.
But with Barton now out of the picture, Dyche has urged his side to move on as they fight to secure their Premier League status for another season.
Burnley are currently 16th in the table on 36 points and with four games to play.
“Now we move forward," Dyche added.
"We took 17 points from the first 17 games and we've taken 19 from the last 17, on a 'bad run'. It's now about delivering in [the last] four games."