Brentford striker Ivan Toney has shed light on his battle with gambling addiction, which led to his recent eight-month suspension from football.
Toney’s confession comes in the wake of his admission to 232 breaches of the Football Association’s betting regulations, an offence that led to his banishment from the field until January 16, 2024.
The shock news of the Football Association’s investigation into Toney’s excessive betting activities broke on the eve of Gareth Southgate’s announcement of the England squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
This ordeal resulted in Toney missing out on a call-up to represent his country on football’s grandest stage.
In a revelatory interview with the YouTube channel, Diary of a CEO, the 27-year-old striker opened up about his tumultuous journey.
Toney, who initially attempted to deny his involvement, confessed: “I thought I would deny it, and then it’s all fine, and they wouldn’t find anything.
“Then everything went through, and I admitted to what I have done.”
Toney emphasised that he has embarked on a path of redemption, asserting that he has ceased all gambling activities.
“No (I don’t gamble anymore),” he added. “I think it’s kind of been in the public eye if I was going to these places. It’s more the embarrassment of ‘is he continuing?’
“So I wouldn’t allow myself. You look back and take a backseat, have a look at the money you lost and what it could have done. People to provide for. It could go to here or just managing money better.
“How I look at things, I can see it as me being naive.”
Toney is striving to rebuild his reputation both on and off the pitch, but he once again added that the timing of the incident was malicious.
He wanted to be on the plane to represent England in Qatar but couldn’t due to the investigation.
Toney has taken responsibility for his actions and said the ban will not break him. He is working on returning a better man and footballer.
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