The controversial 34-year-old
Sportsmail understands that if the former
Barton has vowed to appeal against the penalty, which has been branded an over-reaction by figures within the game.
But sources close to the Liverpudlian revealed to Sportsmail that he is now thinking about a career beyond football.
Barton, who joined relegation-threatened
A number of those featured clubs he was at, but Barton was at pains to point out that he did not bet against his team while in the match-day squad.
In a statement, Barton, who admitted the charge, said he was “very disappointed at the harshness of the sanction”.
He added: “The decision effectively forces me into an early retirement from playing football.
“I accept that I broke the rules governing professional footballers, but I do feel the penalty is heavier than it might be for other less controversial players.”
In 2009, four players were suspended after betting on the outcome of a League Two match between
The harshest penalty handed down was a 12-month ban with a £5 500 (about R94 100) fine.
Barton added: “One thing I can state with absolute certainty – I have never placed a bet against my own team when in a position to influence the game, and I am pleased that in all of the interviews with the FA, and at the hearing, my integrity on that point has never been in question.
“I could not live with myself, nor face my teammates or the fans of the clubs I played for, if they seriously thought I would bet on my team to lose a game whose outcome I could influence.”
Thanks for the manny messages of support. I have breached FA rules. I have been honest with the reasons. Many agree the punishment is OTT.
He listed one of his bets as £3 on himself to be the first scorer for
He also backed his
Barton said that since 2004, on an account with Betfair, he placed “over 15 000 bets across a whole range of sports” – of which 1 260 were on football – staking an average of £150 per bet.
He added: “The average bet was just over £150, many were for only a few pounds. For the modern footballer, downtime and rest are important and I spend much of my time in front of a TV screen, channel hopping across a range of sports, and betting on the outcome of games.”
The news will come as a blow to
Pundit Gary Lineker described the punishment as “harsh” and added that he was looking forward to the FA “clamping down on betting company adverts or sponsorship in football”.
Bookmakers Ladbrokes are the FA’s official betting partner.