In an earlier version of this story on the heraldscotland site yesterday it was suggested that Joey Barton, who has been suspended by Rangers Football Club, could take action against the club in a tribunal on grounds of religious discrimination. Rangers has no truck with discrimination on religious or any other grounds and we apologise for the suggestion causing offence to the club and its supporters.

RANGERS should reach an arrangement with controversial player Joey Barton to avoid messy and embarrassing legal action, according to a solicitor at one of Scotland’s leading employment law firms.

Michael Briggs, of Thompsons Solicitors, said any pay-off could come close to matching Barton’s notice period if Rangers directors wanted to avoid damaging tribunals or a public court hearing.

But Mr Briggs said that, while the club would, in such circumstances, expect the player to sign a confidentiality agreement were his contract to be terminated, the former England star’s personality cast doubt on the value of such a clause.

The comments come as it emerged Barton had been suspended by the club for a further three weeks on top of the seven-day sanction previously handed out following a training-ground bust-up.

The Scottish Football Association is also investigating allegations he gambled on matches amid reports suggesting he placed money on the outcome of a Celtic match. SFA rules prohibit players, coaches, referees and club officials in Scotland from betting on all football.

Mr Briggs explained: “Under the law of contract, either party is entitled to cancel the contract subject to any provisions requiring the terminating party either need to give notice of termination or to make a payment in lieu of that period.

“This will almost certainly be the case in a high-profile professional footballer’s contract. If the club want to terminate Joey Barton’s contract, the only way they can avoid paying the notice is where the termination has been in response to a repudiatory breach of contract committed by the player.

“I do not think you can point to what has gone on in the training ground as having been sufficient to justify summary termination of the player’s contract.

“If [the extra three weeks is punitive], then the club will need to find something else on him to justify summary termination, which makes today’s betting revelations all the more curious.”

He added: “I’d say the most likely outcome would be for some kind of agreement where Joey walks for a certain amount. There is enough risk to both parties and to the club to cause added embarrassment that you’d think the club would come to some sort of agreement that falls short of the notice period."