Ivan Toney Ban: Football is neglecting its duty of care to stars as the sport is swamped with betting funds
Van Toney’s eight-month football ban, handed down by the FA last night for multiple betting rule violations, is a blow to both the striker and Brentford.
At 27, Toney is at his best and has had a landmark season, finishing as the third-top scorer in the Premier League behind Erling Haaland and Harry Kane, as well as making his England debut.
He is now suspended until January 16 and will not even be able to train with his club for four months until mid-September. Toney, who was also fined £50,000, said he was “naturally disappointed” by the decision.
Such a momentous sacking may end his England career before it even begins. He won his first international cap in March and the ban is likely to ruin his chances of taking part in Euro 2024 next summer. Can he realistically come back to full fitness, return to the level he played and then find his way into Gareth Southgate’s plans?
His suspension has also ended any chance of a lucrative move to a big club this summer. Chelsea were among clubs interested in Toney, who has worked his way up from the first division and was described as a £100million footballer by Thomas Frank last week.
Brentford were preparing to listen to offers for the forward with two years left on his contract but clubs are far less likely to invest in him now.
Toney’s ban raises serious questions about football’s uncomfortable, hypocritical relationship with the gaming industry.
When Toney played for Brentford that season, he advertised Hollywoodbets as the main sponsor on the front of his jersey. When he joined the Bees, they competed in the SkyBet Championship. Brentford owner Matthew Benham made his fortune with a betting and data analysis company, and advertising for gambling companies can be seen all over the Premier League and EFL grounds.
Changes are being made and, under pressure from the Government, Premier League clubs have agreed to a ban on gambling companies from sponsoring the front of shirts from the 2026/27 season. However, sleeve sponsorship and pitchside advertising remain permitted.
Toney broke the rules but not training with Brentford for four months is self-defeating. This isolates him and football has a duty of care to support gamblers addicted to betting – not that Toney would – as gambling is firmly embedded in the game.
The ban is a setback for Brentford, which said it will wait for the release of the written rationale from an independent regulatory commission before “considering next steps”.
The club have reached new heights this season and the loss of Toney is a blow to their slim chances of finishing seventh and qualifying for Europe.
With Toney in the middle, they would certainly have been optimistic about a European spot next season. Without their talisman or the monies its sale would have raised, that becomes more difficult but Brentford feel they are a club well-equipped to handle the situation
Toney was first charged in November so they have had time to prepare for this result and have already shown they can cope with the loss of their best players following the departures of Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins. A year ago they were threatened with a relegation battle.
The Bees are one of the best run clubs in the country and Frank is able to transform a new signing or even reshape the team with existing staff. Brentford are likely to consider looking for a replacement in the transfer market but they could have solutions in their squad.
Kevin Schade is a real talent who can play centrally and Frank has an excellent record of developing strikers. Yoane Wissa has just signed a new contract and has scored some crucial goals this season, as has Bryan Mbeumo.
While losing Toney is a setback, it’s not a time to panic.
https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/ivan-toney-betting-ban-brentford-gambling-b1082043.html Ivan Toney Ban: Football is neglecting its duty of care to stars as the sport is swamped with betting funds