LONDON - Predicting the outcome of football matches on Twitter could land players in trouble, as the English football authorities are wary they could be seen to be providing inside betting information.
Queens Park Rangers captain Joey Barton used Twitter on Thursday to claim that the English Football Association had warned him not to provide opinions about the outcome of matches.
The FA regulations warn players that they cannot bet on games in competitions in which their club is involved or "pass inside information on to someone else which they then use for betting."
On Sunday, Barton correctly predicted to more than 1.1 million followers ahead of Sunday's Premier League matches that Manchester City would beat Tottenham and Manchester United would win at Arsenal.
According to Barton, the comments raised alarm bells at FA headquarters, although the governing body declined to comment.
"Just received my weekly warning letter from FA headquarters, this time regarding me tweeting about predicting the weekend's Manchester double," Barton wrote Thursday on his verified Twitter account. "According to the FA, I am not allowed to give my opinion of possible results in case that is seen as insider information. These people are so out of touch with reality it's untrue.
"What difference does my opinion of the outcome of a match have on the result? None."
The FA rules warn players: "You should be aware that the passing of information would not just be by word of mouth — the rule applies equally to emails or social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter)."
But Barton believes the FA has not got "to grips with the change that's happening in the world around them," claiming that he has "probably" received 30 letters from the organization since he started tweeting in July 2010.
The midfielder first revealed in October that the FA had told him to moderate his online comments.
"The FA came to hush me down or make me not have an opinion," he said.
While using Twitter to transform his image since being jailed in 2008 for assault in a street fight, Barton has also used the platform to attack the hierarchy at former club Newcastle and criticize Neil Warnock after he was fired as QPR manager earlier this month.
Rob Harris can be reached at www.twitter.com/RobHarrisUK