By MATT BARLOW and SAMI MOKBEL
Day of shame: Joey Barton and Carlos Tevez clash at the Etihad, leading to the QPR midfielder's sending off by referee Mike Dean (below)
Queens Park Rangers are set to leave Joey Barton out of their squad for next season after the midfielder was deservedly banned for 12 matches.
Manager Mark Hughes wants to get rid of Barton after his shameful behaviour at Manchester City earlier this month and will axe him from his 25-man squad list. The 29-year-old will also be stripped of the club captaincy and forced to train with the reserves.
Rangers owner Tony Fernandes ordered an internal investigation last week and will wait for the outcome before making any official comment.
The option of sacking Barton has been discussed by the board, who understand the legal complications caused by the player having three years left on a deal worth nearly £4million a year.
Hughes has no desire on footballing grounds to keep the midfielder, who was signed on a free transfer from Newcastle last August, while senior players believe it may be time to oust such a disruptive influence.
Double whammy: Barton floors Sergio Aguero after appearing to elbow Carlos Tevez
Selling Barton, however — and they would have to wait until January at the earliest — will be difficult given the contractual obligations and the length of this ban.
But unless the investigation shows he was guilty of gross misconduct and enables them to annul his contract, Rangers would have to negotiate a severance deal if they are determined to get him out.
Red mist: Barton points the finger at Tevez on the final day of the Premier League season
No club are likely to offer £75,000 a week given Barton’s troublesome season at Loftus Road and the fact that he may not be eligible to play again until November.
The ban will cover Barclays Premier League games and Carling Cup ties as long as his team are in the competition.
Barton was sent off for striking Carlos Tevez with his elbow as Rangers lost 3-2 at Manchester City on the dramatic final day of the Premier League season. The result clinched the title for City and Rangers avoided relegation only because Bolton failed to win at Stoke.
Marching orders: The midfielder was sent off against Manchester City
‘There are rules of conduct that should be adhered to,’ said Brian Jones, the chairman of the FA’s independent commission.
‘Such behaviour tarnishes the image of football in this country, particularly as this match was the pinnacle of the domestic season and watched by millions around the globe.’
Barton’s red card — his second of the season — accounts for the first four games of the ban.
Restrained: Barton reacted with anger after being dismissed at the Etihad Stadium
The other eight are a result of two charges of violent conduct for kneeing Sergio Aguero in the back of the thigh and attempting to butt Vincent Kompany as Barton left the Etihad Stadium pitch. Barton accepted the charge regarding Aguero and denied the attack on Kompany but the commission decided he was guilty on both counts. He was also fined £75,000.
It is not Barton’s first experience of the FA’s disciplinary arm.
He was banned for 12 matches, with six of them suspended, for his training- ground attack on Ousmane Dabo in 2007 when he was a Manchester City player and served a three-game suspension for punching Morten Gamst Pedersen in the stomach while playing for Newcastle in 2010.