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Gareth Barry warned over role in Swindon Town ownership dispute

An independent Regulatory Commission have confirmed a ruling on allegations of intermediary breaches against Michael Standing and Gareth Barry.

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Former Villa and Albion midfielder Barry, along with ex-Walsall and Villa man Standing, agency First Touch Pro Management, Swindon Town and Swindon’s former owner Lee Power were charged after a legal dispute over who owns the club.

The probe into alleged breaches of the Football Association’s regulations on working with intermediaries saw Standing issued with a six-month suspension from all football-related activity backdated – and considered served. He was reprimanded by the governing body. Barry, the Premier League’s record appearance maker, received a warning for his future conduct. Agency First Touch Pro Management received a £40,000. League Two side Swindon, over whose ownership was at the heart of the case, received a £25,000 fine, £12,500 suspended for two years. Power’s charges were not proven.

Barry was charged for allegedly breaching intermediary regulations “in relation to the ownership and/or funding of Swindon Town.”

Standing claimed he reached a verbal agreement with Power to jointly own the Wiltshire side in March 2013.

It was verbally agreed at a March 2013 meeting at Barry’s house Standing would invest £300,000 to buy out former shareholders and then put £500,000 into the club for working capital.

Power said under the agreement, Barry would not own any shares in the club. But he would be entitled to 50 per cent of profits arising from any increase in the value of the club.

He would also be entitled to 50 per cent of the net profits arising from sales of certain players.

FA regulations state footballers are not allowed to own or have interests in football clubs.

Barry received two charges of a “prohibited interest in the business or affairs of First Touch Pro Management, an intermediary’s organisation/ intermediary, by providing funding to First Touch Pro Management...” (charge three), as well as “a prohibited interest in the business or affairs of Michael Standing, an intermediary, by providing funding on his behalf to Swindon Town Football Club...” (charge four).

The former midfielder was found in breach of the two charges but the independent regulatory commission accepted his “motivation was generosity towards a friend” and that Barry did not wish to be involved in the club or agency’s affairs. The governing body did add he should have been aware “considerable financial support he was providing at least put him at risk of contravening The FA rules/regulations.”

It added Barry has not made a profit and probably lost money as a result and has not acted deceitfully or dishonourably.

No sporting or financial penalty was issued but there was a warning given on charge three with no separate or additional penalty on charge four.

Full regulatory written reasons can be found here.