Joey Barton escapes punishment after comparing Bristol Rovers' performances to Holocaust

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Joey Barton escapes punishment after comparing Bristol Rovers' performance to Holocaust - Getty Images
Joey Barton escapes punishment after comparing Bristol Rovers' performance to Holocaust - Getty Images

Joey Barton will escaped formal sanctions after sparking outrage by comparing a poor performance by his Bristol Rovers side to the Holocaust.

Fabian Breckels, a Bristol councillor and associate member of the Jewish Labour Movement, said the former England player's comments were "appalling".

However, Barton declined to apologise after telling reporters following a 3-1 defeat to Newport: "I said to the lads during the week, 'the team's almost like musical chairs'. Someone gets in and does well but then gets suspended or injured. Someone gets in for a game, does well but then has a Holocaust, a nightmare, an absolute disaster."

His comments have been scrutinised by the Football Association, but a fine or ban has been ruled out as the comments are not said to constitute an aggravated breach of its rules.

Instead, Barton may receive a letter from the FA reminding him of his responsibilities as manager of the League Two club.

Mr Breckels, however, has angrily criticised the club which has so far refused to comment on Barton's comparison. Dame Helen Hyde, a trustee of the National Holocaust Centre and Museum, also told the BBC his analogy showed a "lack of knowledge". "The Holocaust was not a game," she said. "I don't think Mr Barton knows what the word means and he is certainly not aware of the huge sadness and offence he has caused. Might I suggest he is encouraged to learn about these tragic events."

Bristol Live reported how the comments were initially broadcast through club channels. The footage was widely shared and condemned on social media by fans before it was taken down internally, edited and re-posted to remove the offending line, the local website added.

While at Rovers, Barton has previously claimed predecessors Paul Tisdale and Ben Garner were "negligent", leading to a threat of legal action.

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