Sun, May 06, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Dabo requests Barton charges

UNSAVORYThe Man City midfielder has drawn bad publicity on a regular basis, including one incident in which he put out a lit cigar in the eye of a young player


England international midfielder Joey Barton could face criminal prosecution after Manchester City teammate Ousmane Dabo asked police to press charges against Barton for alleged assault.

The 30-year-old French midfielder was hospitalized for injuries to his eye, nose and lip after an altercation at the club's training ground on Tuesday.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have confirmed the incident has been reported to them.

Barton -- no stranger to violent incidents with teammates, including one especially unsavory one where he put a lit cigar into the eye of a youth team player -- has been suspended by the club.

"GMP has received a report from a 30-year-old man that he was assaulted," a police spokeswoman said. "Inquiries are ongoing."

An arrest could have serious consequences for the 24-year-old midfielder, who has attracted unwanted publicity on a regular basis for years and is presently thought to be out of the country.

Barton stubbed the cigar out in the eye of teammate Jamie Tandy during a players' Christmas party, an incident for which he was fined six weeks wages.

He also attacked a schoolboy Everton fan in a bar in Thailand, then attacked close friend and teammate Richard Dunne when the Irishman tried to intervene. Barton was fined two months wages for that incident.

Dabo was quoted in the Times newspaper on Thursday as saying he was upset by the cowardice shown by Barton, who has one England cap after playing against Spain in February.

"The fact that I look like the Elephant Man and will not be able to play again this season is bad enough but what I find most shocking is that he [Barton] struck me first from behind and then repeatedly when I was down on the ground," Dabo said.

"He is a coward and his actions are despicable and that is why I am in serious discussions with my lawyers to see what actions I can take," he said.

Barton's brother Michael was jailed for a minimum of 18 years two years ago for murder.

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