Outrage as footballer is spared ban
FORMER England football star John Barnes caused outrage yesterday when a court spared him a driving ban after he claimed that it would cause him “exceptional hardship”.
The 44-year-old ex-Liverpool midfielder was expected to be banned after police caught him driving without insurance on the M6.
But he complained to magistrates in Northwich, Cheshire, that a ban could affect his new job – manager of the Jamaican national side 5,000 miles away.
The TV pundit, who lives in a £1million mansion at Neston, Merseyside, also argued that he could not afford to hire a driver because his earnings of about £4,000 a week “varied drastically”.
Barnes already had nine points on his licence, and the normal six-point penalty for having no insurance would push him over the 12-point limit, resulting in him losing BARNES: Escaped his licence. JPs fined him car licence ban £2,000 but spared him a ban after “taking into consideration his work, family, and charity commitments”.
Barnes claimed that losing his licence would make his new job as boss of the Jamaican team virtually impossible. “Three-quarters of the players play in this country,” he said. “I have to go and see them at their clubs to select them. They’re all over the country.”
Jane Whitham, of road safety campaigners Brake, said: “It’s ridiculous for the criminal justice system to let someone off a driving ban because they can’t afford a chauffeur. What’s wrong with the bus?”