The Football Association has revealed the reasons behind the recent decision to ban Brentford striker Ivan Toney from football for eight months.
The 27-year-old placed 13 bets on his own team to lose in seven different matches between August 22, 2017, and March 3, 2018.
Eleven of those bets were against then-parent club Newcastle United – a significant smack in the face for the club’s loyal fans.
While Toney did not play in any of the matches in question, his actions represent a serious breach of the FA’s rules on gambling.
He also lied to the FA about betting on football and provided inside information to a friend about when he was starting a game.
Toney was suspected of having a separate mobile phone to place bets, which he did not hand to the FA during their investigation.
Eight-month ban for Toney is too lenient
The FA were initially considering handing Toney a 15-month ban due to the nature of the offences.
However, they settled on eight months after he was diagnosed with a gambling addiction by a psychiatric expert.
While there must be sympathy towards anyone with a genuine addiction, Toney’s suspension is overly lenient.
One of the key points to take away from this case is that Toney is still betting on other sports and casino games but is ‘determined to address his gambling problem’.
It would appear that process is yet to start, which begs a few pertinent questions.
- Why hasn’t Toney put immediate measures in place to stop his access to gambling sites?
- Why haven’t the FA and his club also taken action to prevent Toney from gambling?
- Why are gambling companies still allowing a ‘diagnosed addict’ to bet on sports and play casino games?
Regardless of those issues, Toney is extremely fortunate to have received an eight-month ban.
His case is similar to the one involving Joey Barton, who received an 18-month ban for betting offences spread over seven years.
While the length of the ban is unlikely to be changed, it will be intriguing to see what stance Brentford manager Thomas Frank adopts when the dust has settled.
There is a significant trust issue in play with this case. Betting on football is one thing – betting against your own team, even if you are not playing, is a different matter.
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