Brentford striker Ivan Toney’s ban reduced after independent report highlights gambling addiction

Image above: Ivan Toney

Toney diagnosed with gambling addiction and says he is determined to address it

The detailed independent report that played a crucial role in determining the ban length for Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been made public, revealing he suffers from a gambling addiction.

The report reveals that no evidence of match-fixing was found in relation to Toney’s gambling activities. As a result, his suspension has been reduced from 11 months to eight.

The investigation uncovered more than 200 bets placed by Toney, which violated the rules set by the Football Association (FA). It was revealed that some of these bets were against clubs he was associated with, although not in matches in which he personally participated. Initially, the governing body of the sport had sought a 15-month ban for Toney.

The commission handling the case took into account evidence presented by Dr. Philip Hopley, an expert in psychiatry, who conducted two interviews with Toney. Dr. Hopley’s findings influenced the commission’s decision to reduce the duration of Toney’s ban.

During the initial stage of the inquiry, Toney repeatedly lied about his gambling activities and deleted records from his mobile phone. These actions prompted calls for a more severe punishment. Since then, Toney has now expressed his determination to address his gambling addiction through therapy, although he continues to place bets on sports other than football.

Image above: Brentford v Brighton – Ivan Toney’s 20th successful penalty; Photograph Liz Vercoe

No evidence Toney influenced his own team losing

The regulatory commission concluded:

“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 – he was not in the squad or eligible to play at the time.”

Brentford said that they would do ‘everything possible’ to support the player during his suspension and manager Thomas Frank expressed frustration that he was not allowed to have any contact for the first four months. He said:

“If I can’t speak to him, I guess they will have to ban me as well. If I am not allowed to support him there must be something wrong.

“What I on a personal note don’t get at all is how can you not let him be involved in football for the first four months? What do you gain from that? If you want to rehabilitate someone, give them education, do something. So now it’s like ‘okay, this is the sanction, leave to yourself, find out, die or survive.”

Toney should do community service in schools, says Thomas Frank

Mr Frank suggested Toney should do work in the community including going to schools to talk about the challenges he has faced. He also addressed broader issues raised by the case saying:

“Football and gambling’s relationship needs a review. We got a massive reminder. Do we do enough to educate our players?”

Toney will not be allowed to train until September and cannot play until 17 January next year. In addition he has been fined £50,000.

Brentford said in a statement following the publication of the report:

“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. Conversations regarding this and all matters relating to the case will remain confidential in order to protect the player and his family.

“We consider this matter closed and look forward to welcoming Ivan back to training in September and seeing him representing Brentford in the Premier League in January.”