AFP, Friday 26 May 2023
Premier League club Brentford have pledged to help Ivan Toney after an independent commission report revealed the banned England striker has a gambling addiction.
(FILES) Brentford s English striker Ivan Toney reacts after losing at the end of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Brentford at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 6, 2023. Brentford striker Ivan Toney was on May 17, 2023, handed an eight-month ban from all football activity for breaching Football Association rules on betting. Toney was charged by the FA in November for 262 alleged breaches of betting rules over a four-year period. Photo: AFP
Toney is serving an eight-month suspension after he admitted 232 breaches of the Football Association’s betting rules.
The independent regulatory commission imposed the sanctions, which included a £50,000 ($62,000) fine, following a personal hearing.
He is not able to train with Brentford until September 17, with his return to match action set for January next year.
Psychiatrist Philip Hopley attended Toney’s personal hearing and diagnosed that the forward has a gambling addiction.
As a result of that verdict, the commission reduced an 11-month sanction by three months in their final ruling.
“The commission finds that a significant reduction should be made to reflect the diagnosed gambling addiction identified by Dr Hopley,” the written reasons document, published on Friday, said.
“The lack of control the player has in respect of gambling is clearly a reflection of his diagnosed gambling addiction.”
Toney’s breaches of FA rules took place over five seasons, from 2017 to 2021 when he played for Newcastle, Peterborough and moved to Brentford in 2020.
The forward placed 13 bets on his own team to lose in seven different matches during the 2017/18 season — 11 of those bets were against Newcastle when he was out on loan away from the St James’ Park club.
Two other bets were placed on a game between Wigan and Aston Villa, but Toney, on loan at Wigan at the time, was not involved in the matchday squad.
The England international also bet on his own team to win 15 different matches and himself to score in nine different matches, the commission found.
But the regulatory commission ruled Toney’s case was not one of match-fixing.
“There is no evidence that Mr Toney did or was even in a position to influence his own team to lose when he placed bets against them winning,” it said. “He was not in the squad or eligible to play at the time.”
Brentford issued a statement saying they were committed to supporting the 27-year-old with his betting problem.
“Ivan and Brentford FC accept that offences were committed, and sanctions were inevitable,” the club said.
“The commission noted that none of the charges related to events where Ivan could negatively impact his own team. The detail is included in the written reasons.
“The club will now be doing everything possible to provide support to Ivan and his family to deal with the issues raised in this case.”
Toney has scored 20 goals in 33 Premier League games this season and made his debut for England against Ukraine in March.
England manager Gareth Southgate said earlier this week it was important to support the player during his time away from the game.
This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.