Football: Rangers' Barton charged with gaming breach, placing 44 bets on matches

(REUTERS) - Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has been charged with a breach of betting rules for placing 44 bets on football matches this year, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) said on Wednesday.

Barton, who joined Rangers in the close season, has a history of disciplinary problems and is currently suspended by his club following a training-ground dispute with a team-mate.

SFA rules prevent players, coaches, club officials and referees in Scotland from betting on football anywhere in the world.

The SFA said in a statement that Barton had been charged with placing the bets between July 1 and Sept 15. He has until Oct 12 to respond and his hearing will take place on Oct 27.

Barton, who has also played for Manchester City, Newcastle, Queen's Park Rangers and Burnley, is no stranger to controversy, having served bans for violent conduct on and off the pitch during his career.

He broke a pedestrian's leg while driving his car in 2005 and was jailed for six months in 2008 after admitting assault and affray.

The 34-year-old Englishman is due to return from a three-week suspension on Monday following a training-ground dispute with team-mate Andy Halliday.

Barton, who signed a two-year contract in May, was sent home after an altercation with Halliday, a few days after Rangers were thumped 5-1 by Celtic in the Old Firm derby.