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Page last updated at 21:17 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

FA will not launch Barton probe

Joey Barton
Barton is understood to categorically deny the allegations

The Football Association says it will not pursue an investigation against Newcastle's Joey Barton following his confrontation with Gabriel Agbonlahor.

It had been alleged that midfielder Barton made a racist comment towards the Aston Villa forward during Monday's Premier League contest.

But both Villa and Agbonlahor do want to make a complaint and the FA says it now regards the matter closed.

"The FA will not be pursuing this matter," said a statement.

"The FA wrote to Aston Villa on Wednesday morning to ask for any information the club could provide regarding allegations reported in today's media of remarks made by Joey Barton to Gabriel Agbonlahor during Villa's match against Newcastle on Monday.

"The club has responded to inform us that they have no complaints to make."

Barton and Agbonlahor were involved in a heated first-half confrontation, with Barton appearing to push Agbonlahor in the face.

After viewing video footage, referee Steve Bennett decided it was not worthy of a red card and the FA announced that Barton would not face any retrospective action over that incident.

But the FA said on Tuesday it would not punish Barton for the initial clash but would look at any further complaint.

Any incident regarding Joey is going to be blown up twice as much as it's going to be with any other player

Newcastle coach Chris Hughton, speaking on Monday
Villa confirmed they studied video evidence but any suggestion of racism could not be 100% proved.

And on Wednesday the club confirmed that Agbonlahor had decided not to take the matter any further.

"Gaby doesn't want to talk about it and he doesn't want to press charges," said manager Martin O'Neill.

"That's what he said to me on Tuesday and he has reiterated that.

"I've just heard, regardless of what Gaby does or doesn't say, the FA would like to hear what sort of comments we have to make on an official basis.

"That's fine, if we have a couple of days to have a look at things, then that's exactly what we'll do.

"I've just been told that we have a week to make some sort of decision about that and that's fine. We'll have a look at it and we'll see."

Bennett's report of the match is understood to have made no mention of racism.

Before this new allegation came to light, Newcastle coach Chris Hughton said on Monday: "Any incident regarding Joey is going to be blown up twice as much as it's going to be with any other player."

Barton has featured in three games since resuming his Newcastle career following a six-match FA ban for a training-ground attack on his former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.

The 26-year-old previously served a jail sentence for affray and assault for an incident outside a McDonald's restaurant in Liverpool.

Barton's agent, Willie McKay, had said: "I don't want to talk about the situation. I don't know anything about it."

Barton is understood to categorically deny the allegations.

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see also
FA decides not to punish Barton
04 Nov 08 |  Newcastle
Newcastle 2-0 Aston Villa
03 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Barton eyes fresh Newcastle start
29 Oct 08 |  Newcastle
Banned Barton to miss six matches
05 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Joey Barton released from prison
28 Jul 08 |  Manchester
Barton admits to violent conduct
13 Aug 08 |  Newcastle

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