Newcastle United’s Joey Barton is to have goal-line technology fitted to his knuckles for the next three games – to help referees decide whether his manhandling of opposing players has crossed the line.
The FA’s shock move comes after match officials failed to see Barton punch Blackburn’s Morten Gamst Pedersen to the ground – by means of an emphatic camera-free fist – in Wednesday night’s Premier League clash at St James Park.
Barton will today report to Lancaster Gate, where workmen from the FA Compliance Unit will weld tiny metal brackets into his fingers and attach miniature CCTV cameras to each of his knuckles.
An FA spokesperson told us,“The new ‘Fist-Cam’ technology will assist referees in deciding whether a player has simply given an opponent an affectionate slap, or has nonchalantly punched their lights out for no apparent reason.”
“We had originally assumed that the only way to stop Joey Barton punching people was to make him play in a black and white striped straightjacket.”
“But we realised this would just lead to a rise in him to trying to head-butt people, and at set pieces there was almost certainly going to be some biting.”
Joey Barton FA ban
The FA spokesperson explained that footage from Fist Cam will provide all details required to assess the seriousness of any violent attack.
“If a Fist-Cam replay shows a rapidly panning crowd shot gently, but firmly, stopped in its tracks, it was nothing more than an affectionate slap.”
“If Fist-Cam replay shows an opposing player’s shirt badge hurtling towards you at the speed of light, followed by total darkness, immediately followed by total picture loss, it was a ‘Barton Kiss’. Case closed.”
“And, as with the BBC’s iPlayer, Fist-Cam lets you watch any alleged incident again and again for up to seven days. Making the unmissable, unmissable.”
The FA spokesperson went on to stress that Fist-Cam would only be used on Barton during matches, and switched off at all other times.
“We strongly suspect Joey Barton is also a wanker off the pitch. Which none of us would want to witness, obviously,” he concluded.