Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been diagnosed as a gambling addict, which led him to bet on his own clubs to lose matches, according to the English Football Association’s (FA) reasons for handing him an eight-month ban.
The 27-year-old was hit with the suspension and a £50,000 fine earlier this month after he accepted 232 breaches of the FA’s rules on betting.
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English football’s governing body published the independent regulatory commission’s full verdict on Friday and revealed they pushed for a 15-month ban but handed down a reduced punishment after taking into account the striker’s guilty plea and evidence from a psychiatry expert who concluded he is an addict.
The FA report read: “The Commission had the benefit of a report from Dr Philip Hopley dated 2 February 2023 who also attended the hearing by video conference to answer questions.
“Dr Hopley had interviewed Mr Toney on two occasions and concluded in his report that Mr Toney has a clear history of gambling addiction.
“There is no need to set out the details of the report in these reasons. It was Dr Hopley’s conclusion that Mr Toney needs professional help in respect of his addiction.”
It has also emerged that Toney placed 13 bets on his own team to lose in seven different matches between August 2017 and March 2018 when he was on loan from Newcastle United at Wigan Athletic and then Scunthorpe United. He did not play in any of those matches.
In another charge, Toney told a friend that he would start his club’s next game in March 2018 when it was not public knowledge and also admitted lying to the FA when first questioned about the charges. Toney has now stopped gambling on football, and the report stated he is “determined to address his gambling problem with therapy.”
England manager Gareth Southgate was critical earlier this week about the extent of the ban, and said the football community should do more to support Toney rather than ostracise him, particularly given he is not allowed to train with Brentford until mid-September.
Brentford said in a statement: “Brentford FC has received and accepted the written reasons of an independent Regulatory Commission that handed Ivan Toney an eight-month ban from all football and football-related activity after he admitted breaches of FA Rule E8, relating to placing bets on football.
“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.”