Bad boy Toney has ban reduced for being a good boy

May 26 – Brentford striker Ivan Toney’s football ban has been reduced to eight months by the Football Association (FA), citing his good record, “genuine remorse,” and a diagnosis of gambling addiction, according to an announcement made on Friday.

Earlier this month, Toney, a 27-year-old forward for Brentford and England, was banned and fined £50,000 ($63,105) after admitting to 232 breaches of the FA’s betting rules, which included placing bets on matches he participated in.

The FA’s independent regulatory commission released a statement explaining the reasons behind the reduced sanction, stating that all parties agreed to lessen the ban from 11 months to eight, taking into account Toney’s young age and gambling addiction.

“The commission considers factors such as his relatively young age at the start of the breaches, his clean record apart from on-field misconduct, and the sincere remorse he expressed to the commission,” stated the FA.

“Furthermore, the commission finds it essential to reduce the sanction significantly to reflect the diagnosed gambling addiction, as determined by a psychiatry expert.”

The statement continued: “Mr. Toney is committed to addressing his gambling problem through therapy following the conclusion of this season. Considering all these factors, the commission reduces the suspension by three months to a total of eight months.”

If Toney had not pleaded guilty, the imposed sanction would have been 15 months.

Although Toney remains banned until January 16, 2024, he will be allowed to train with his team and regain match fitness starting from September 17.

Out of the 262 alleged breaches, the FA clarified that 126 were related to matches in which Toney’s club participated or was eligible to participate.

“He states that he initially denied 42 charges on a pragmatic basis, as he doubted his responsibility for them. However, he wished to expedite these proceedings and therefore pleaded guilty to those charges,” the FA explained.

Additionally, Toney placed 15 bets on himself to score in nine matches he played, which the FA considered to be one of the “most serious” charges, as his spot in the starting lineup was not public knowledge at the time.

The rules in English football are clear. Rule E8 of the FA states that a participant “shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on” matches they are involved in or have an influence on. This ban also includes betting on transfers of players, managerial appointments, team selection and any other football-related matters.

Toney has come off lightly after betting on his own team to lose, on himself to score and lying to the investigation in the initial phase.

Lower-league player Kynan Isaac was charged by the FA for “intentionally seeking to be cautioned by the referee” while playing for Stratford Town and got 11.5 years.  The ban is still deeply damaging for Toney, who has been flourishing for the Bees, scoring more than 30 goals.

But while the blanket ban preventing players from betting on anything football-related is nine years old, English football’s relationship with betting remains nebulous at best. Toney’s own club promote a betting firm on their shirts.

The Premier League has voluntarily agreed to ban gambling sponsors from the front of shirts from the 2026-27 season, a move culture secretary Lucy Frazer welcomed in April. That concession by the Premier League was seen as a means to prevent a blanket ban.

The FA also disclosed that Toney made 13 bets on his former team, Newcastle United, to lose in seven matches between August 2017 and March 2018, during his loan spell at Wigan Athletic.

“Mr. Toney did not participate in any of the matches where he placed bets against his loan club, as he was not in the match squad, nor against his parent club, as he was on loan,” clarified the FA.

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