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26 Oct, 2021 13:04

Unapologetic English football manager escapes sanction after comparing team’s performance to ‘Holocaust’ (VIDEO)

Unapologetic English football manager escapes sanction after comparing team’s performance to ‘Holocaust’ (VIDEO)

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton has been cleared by the English FA of any wrongdoing after he controversially compared his team's defensive display in a recent game against Newport Country to being like the Holocaust.

Barton made the comment after his team's 3-1 defeat at the hands of League Two rivals Newport last weekend – and subsequently refused to apologize for any offence caused, despite complaints about his comments from the National Holocaust Center and Museum and the Jewish Labor Movement. 

And per reports from UK media, Barton has escaped a ban, or even a fine, after the Football Association found that his comments didn't contravene any of their rules or guidelines.

The clip was posted to Bristol Rovers' social media channels before it was taken down and replaced with an edited version – but the original video was preserved by some eagle-eyed Twitter users, and promptly became the center of a media storm. 

"I said to the lads during the week, 'the team's almost like musical chairs'. Someone gets in and does well but then gets suspended or injured," says Barton in the footage.

"Someone gets in for a game, does well but then has a Holocaust, a nightmare, an absolute disaster."

Barton, who represented the likes of Manchester City and Marseille during his playing career, was soon targeted by Holocaust memorial groups – with National Holocaust Center and Museum trustee Dame Helen Hyde being particularly scathing in her remarks.

"I don't think Mr Barton knows what the word means and he is certainly not aware of the huge sadness and offence he has caused," she said. "Might I suggest he is encouraged to learn about these tragic events."

A Holocaust memorial group in Bristol also added: "To compare the poor performance of a player or team to a Holocaust shows a lack of understanding of the true barbarism, torture and evil that was inflicted on vulnerable groups in society.

"As one of two professional football clubs that represent the city, it is saddening that neither the football club or the manager Joey Barton has issued an unequivocal apology."

Barton also received calls for his resignation from at least one Bristol-based politician.

But despite the outrage from Jewish and Holocaust memorial groups, The FA – after conducting an investigation – have reportedly determined that Barton's comments, while ill-advised, didn't break any of their rules governing offensive hate speech.

Instead, Barton is understood to be in line to receive a letter from The FA to remind him of his responsibilities when speaking to the media.

Barton, 39, has encountered several controversial incidents throughout his playing and managerial career. In 2004, he was found to have attacked a youth player during his time at Manchester City with a lit cigar, while also being sent home from the club's pre-season tour of Thailand that same year for being involved in a heated, public confrontation with a 15-year-old child at the team hotel.

In June of this year, Barton was charged with attacking a woman at a residence in Kew, just outside of London.

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