Joey Barton has defended Daniel Sturridge after the Liverpool striker allegedly breached football gambling rules.

The FA are investigating large bets placed prior to Sturridge’s loan move to West Bromwich Albion in January.

Former Burnley and Manchester City midfielder Barton was given an initial 18-month ban in 2016. And he thinks Sturridge’s case shows the laws need to be fixed.

“They have to revise their approach,” the Fleetwood Town manager told Sky Sports. “The players that are getting exposed and banned for it are really the tip of the iceberg.

“There’s a lot of people who have vested interest in promoting and advertising gambling, I don’t think it’s a problem with that.

“I just think it’s a problem when we ban something that is clearly a massive part of our game and then we start banning players for it.

“I’m not saying we should allow betting on games because obviously it would probably hurt the integrity of the sport but I think we need to be a bit more 21st century about our approach.

“I do think the rule here is a little bit too draconian, a little bit too hard line.

“What difference does it make if a player in the Premier League is betting on the Brazilian league, how can he influence that?

“The zero-tolerance approach is clearly always going to have casualties.

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