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article imageNewcastle United's Joey Barton charged by FA for unseen punch

By Kev Hedges     Nov 11, 2010 in Sports
Newcastle Upon Tyne - Newcastle United footballer Joey Barton is to be charged by the Football Association (FA) for an off the ball incident where he appeared to punch Morten Gamst Pedersen in the chest in their home game against Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday evening.
Midfielder Barton, 28, has accepted the charge and apologised to Morten Gamst Pedersen. It means he will miss vital games against Fulham, Bolton and Chelsea in the English Premier League. Barton released an apology saying, "I would like to apologise to [Magpies boss] Chris Hughton, my team-mates, our fans and of course to Morten Gamst Pedersen and Blackburn".
Referee Mike Jones missed the incident and because of the lack of video replays available to officials in the game, the offence went unpunished. However the FA have taken the unprecedented step of looking at the incident on video replays and will decide if the offence warrants a sending-off.
Barton is no stranger to controversy - in the past he has stubbed out a lit cigar in youth player Jamie Tandy's eye, after he had caught Tandy attempting to set fire to his shirt during a Christmas party when he played for Manchester City. He also once exposed his backside to opposition Everton fans in 2006, arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage after an alleged argument with a taxi driver in Liverpool, he was later cleared of this charge, assaulted his Manchester City team mate Ousmane Dabo, who later said that he had been hit several times, and had to go to hospital after suffering injuries to his head, including a suspected detached retina.
He received a four month suspended prison sentence plus community service for the attack on Dabo. He eventually moved north to Newcastle United where his controversial reign continued - CCTV showed Barton punching a man twenty times, causing him to lose consciousness, and attacking a teenager, breaking some of his teeth. On 20 May 2008, he was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty for his part in the December 2007 assault.
BBC Sport reports, that Barton will be available for selection to Newcastle manager Chris Hughton for his side's trip to West Brom on 5 December.
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