France news

Barton to face FFF ethics committee

April 4, 2013
By ESPN staff

Marseille midfielder Joey Barton has been summoned to appear before the French Football Federation's ethics committee after he described Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva as an "overweight ladyboy" on Twitter.

David Beckham comes up against Marseille's Joey Barton during his full PSG debut
GettyImagesBarton had criticised Beckham and Ibrahimovic, angering Silva

Barton, on loan at Marseille from Queens Park Rangers, made the comments after becoming involved in a spat with the Brazil captain. The midfielder had criticised some of Silva's PSG team-mates.

Barton, a former Newcastle player, and his club issued an apology to Silva on Thursday. However, ethics committee president Laurent Davenas later confirmed that the player will have to account for his actions.

"Joey Barton has been summoned by the ethics committee and will be heard on April 15," Davenas told Reuters.

In Twitter posts during PSG's 2-2 Parc des Princes draw with Barcelona in the Champions League, Barton questioned whether Silva was "pre-op or post-op [transsexual]' and made the "ladyboy" comment.

The remarks were condemned by equality campaigners, while PSG described them as "unacceptable", saying they would "take any action" they deemed necessary.

In the apology, issued on their website, Marseille said: "Olympique Marseille and Joey Barton wish to apologise to Thiago Silva and his club for the inappropriate comments the English player made on social media in the past 36 hours.

"Olympique Marseille officials have asked Joey Barton to end the row between him and the Paris Brazilian defender. The OM midfielder has promised to end right now the publication of any invidious comment against Thiago Silva."

The French Football Federation had originally said it would not take action because the incident did not take place on a football pitch.

The row between Barton and Silva had been sparked when Silva, speaking to L'Equipe on Monday, said: "There is a Marseille player - I cannot remember his name, an Englishman - who has said bad things about Neymar and Brazilian football, and also about [David] Beckham and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic.

"Because no-one is talking about him, it seems it is fun for him to criticise great players for people to know he exists.''