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Rangers boss Mark Warburton silenced as Joey Barton row rumbles on

By Graham Luney

Rangers manager Mark Warburton's pre-match media conference was cut short after PR man Jim Traynor stepped in to stop questions about suspended midfielder Joey Barton.

Warburton was talking to the media ahead of Rangers' trip to Inverness tomorrow night, when faced with a series of questions about the decision to extend Barton's initial three-week ban from Ibrox and the club's Auchenhowie base.

The Gers boss stated he would make no comment on the matter, and when pressed further on Barton's future the former journalist Jim Traynor stepped in to bring proceedings to a halt.

Traynor took exception to a question about the controversial midfielder, who is serving a further one-week suspension, from Sky Sports reporter Mark Benstead.

"I'm not going to make a comment," said Warburton when asked for an update on the controversial midfielder.

"I haven't made any comment on it. It's been dealt with by the powers that be at the club so when there's news to come out, it will come out but, until then, there's no comment."

"Have you had any dialogue with him?" asked the journalist.

"Like I said, there's no comment on the Joey Barton (situation), it wouldn't be right so there's a process going through right now so there will be no comment form myself," Warburton replied.

When asked for a third time about Barton, Warburton added: "There'll be no comment gents, you can ask as long as you want, as many times as you want but I promise you, there won't be any comment."

Once again, Warburton was quizzed on the Barton fiasco before replying: "It's been dealt with by the club who are following an appropriate process but as far as myself is concerned, it wouldn't be appropriate to comment."

At that stage, Traynor stepped in to intervene before advising the Rangers manager to leave the area.

Warburton would return 20 minutes later, however, to continue the press conference and answer questions on a variety of other topics.

Meanwhile, Barton has asked for extra time to consider his Scottish Football Association charge of allegedly breaking strict betting rules.

The midfielder had been given until yesterday to respond after he was charged with placing 44 bets on games between July 1 and September 15 this year.

But now he has requested an extension to that deadline after telling Hampden disciplinary chiefs he needs longer to look through the piles of paperwork detailing their case.

The request is expected to be considered by the Scottish FA's Judicial Panel tomorrow. SFA rules ban players from betting on any football match, anywhere in the world.

Former Rangers players Ian Black and Steve Simonsen were both banned for betting on football in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Black was handed a 10-match ban for betting on games involving his own side and served three of them with the other seven suspended.

Simonsen missed one game for putting money on other teams with another game suspended.

It is understood Barton did not bet on any games involving Rangers - although it has been reported he did place money on Celtic to lose heavily in their Champions League clash in Barcelona, a match the Hoops lost 7-0.

The former England midfielder was due to return to training earlier this week after serving a month-long club suspension following an angry bust-up with boss Warburton and team-mate Andy Halliday.

But Rangers announced on Sunday they had told him to stay away from both Ibrox and their Auchenhowie training base for another seven days after launching a "formal disciplinary procedure".

If Rangers do not broker a peace deal or find grounds to sack him, they face having to pay off the former Manchester City battler's two-year contract which is worth £2million.

Belfast Telegraph


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