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The Marseille midfielder has been granted a reprieve by the National Council of Ethics (CNE) for his abusive online rant against the league leaders' Brazilian centre-back

Marseille's Joey Barton has escaped punishment from the National Council of Ethics (CNE) for his abusive rant on Twitter against Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Silva.

The English midfielder, no stranger to controversy, was called to a hearing by the CNE after he described Thiago Silva as an "overweight ladyboy" in one of a number of posts on Twitter earlier this month.

Paris Saint-Germain labelled the comments "unacceptable", whilst Marseille apologised for what they called "inappropriate" posts from the 30-year-old.

However, after a hearing today with the CNE, Barton will not be punished by the league, with the council arguing that the relevant conditions had not been met.

"The Council has not been able to judge the case," explained CNE president Laurent Davenas. "There could be problems of interpretation of statements made in English.

"On the other hand, we have not received the conclusions of lawyers just until Friday night at the FFF. The members of the commission have not had access to this dossier a sufficient time.

"And then, this case raises legal issues. Twitter is a public communication space."

Despite this initial ruling, Barton is not clear of punishment just yet as there is still a chance that French Football Federation could look into the case instead and penalise him at a later date.

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