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Barton may face consequences for ‘assault outside of the game,’ according to leading sports lawyer

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QPR may be in a position to terminate captain Joey Barton’s contract on the grounds of gross misconduct for his actions following his sending-off against Manchester City last weekend, a leading sports law specialist has confirmed.

Barton has accepted one charge of violent conduct against Sergio Aguero, who he kicked after being dismissed for an elbow on Carlos Tevez, but denies a second for a confrontation with Vincent Kompany.

The 29-year-old is facing a ban from the Football Association which could run into double figures from the start of next season.

QPR announced earlier this week that they will conduct an internal investigation into Barton’s dismissal and his subsequent conduct in Sunday’s final game of the Premier League season.

Jamie Singer, of Onside Law, told London24 that the midfielder’s action against Aguero, which fell outside of the referee’s jurisdiction, could be classed as gross misconduct.

“The fact that there was an elbow to the throat [on Tevez], and then an un-provoked attack afterwards, two incidents, that might lead the club to see it as gross misconduct,” said Singer.

“Depending on the terms of his contract there tends to be a two-tier approach. If something is “normal” misconduct then the disciplinary process may lead to a fine or suspension.

“However, if the behaviour is so serious as to be deemed gross misconduct then you may be able to terminate just based on that one event. It depends on what is in his contract.

“Regarding the incident with Sergio Aguero, I think that there is a distinction that you can draw. “Inevitably in football there are fouls and sendings-off but it would be very rare for a field of play incident to be so serious as to constitute gross misconduct.

“But after he was sent off his behaviour is no longer a “field of play” issue and he can no longer claim it was heat of the moment or part of the game. Outside of the game, he’s assaulted Aguero, un-provoked. So that is where I think the club could have an argument to terminate his contract for gross misconduct, if they wanted to.”

Singer said the incident was comparable with Manchester United striker Eric Cantona’s ‘kung-fu kick’ on a Crystal Palace fan at Selhurst Park in January 1995, for which Cantona was given an eight-month ban but was allowed to remain at the club. As with Cantona, the assault was aggravated by the fact that it took place after the player had been sent off.

Follow me on Twitter @QPRTimes

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