Football: Rangers' bad boy Barton probed over betting breach, say reports

Joey Barton applauds fans as he is substituted in Ibrox Stadium during the Rangers VS Burnley pre-season friendly on July 30, 2016.
Joey Barton applauds fans as he is substituted in Ibrox Stadium during the Rangers VS Burnley pre-season friendly on July 30, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

GLASGOW (AFP) - Embattled Rangers midfielder Joey Barton is under investigation after allegedly breaking betting rules, the British media reported on Tuesday.

The Press Association and several newspapers said the Scottish Football Association (SFA) was looking into claims that he bet on Celtic to lose heavily prior to their 7-0 Champions League defeat at Barcelona last week.

Betting on football matches by players is strictly forbidden by the SFA and the 34-year-old could face a ban if found guilty.

A Rangers spokesman told AFP that the club was not commenting on the matter.

The news comes after Barton was banned from the club for three weeks on Monday over a training-ground row that occurred following Rangers' 1-5 loss to Glasgow rivals Celtic.

It has prompted speculation that he may have already played his last game for the club.

After being asked if he was still a Rangers player, Barton told Sky Sports: "I think so."

The combative English midfielder signed a two-year contract with Rangers in May following their promotion to the Scottish Premiership.

In newspaper interviews conducted last week and published on Tuesday, he expressed regret over moving north of the border.

"Reflecting on it, would I have made the same decision (to join Rangers)? Probably not," he told The Guardian.

Barton, who has a chequered disciplinary record, previously played for Manchester City, Newcastle, Queens Park Rangers, Marseille and Rangers.