Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been handed an eight-month ban from football and football-related activities after being found guilty of breaching FA Rule E8 on 232 occasions between February 2017 and January 2021. The English international has been diagnosed with a gambling addiction, as revealed by a psychiatrist’s assessment. While Toney’s ban does not relate to match-fixing, he did place bets on his own team to lose on 13 occasions. Let’s delve into the details and explore the consequences of this ban.
Background: Ivan Toney, previously on loan with Scunthorpe and Wigan from Newcastle, joined Brentford permanently in 2020. The charges brought against him spanned his time at Scunthorpe, Wigan, and Brentford. The club has acknowledged the offenses and accepted the inevitable sanctions imposed on Toney.
No Influence on Matches: The independent Regulatory Commission’s documentation clarifies that none of the charges against Toney involved events where he could negatively impact his own team. There is no evidence to suggest that Toney ever influenced the outcome of a match. The commission emphasizes that Toney was not in the squad or eligible to play in the matches on which he placed bets against his team winning.
Diagnosed Gambling Addiction: The commission’s findings recognize the significance of a diagnosed gambling addiction identified by psychiatrist Dr. Philip Hopley. Toney’s lack of control over gambling is attributed to his diagnosed condition. The documents stress the need for a significant reduction in Toney’s ban as a reflection of this addiction.
Bets on His Own Team to Lose: While Toney did place bets on his own team to lose on 13 occasions in seven different matches between August 2017 and March 2018, it is important to note that he was not involved in any of those matches. The evidence confirms that Toney was neither in a position to influence his team’s performance nor eligible to play during those games.
Support and Confidentiality: Brentford FC has committed to providing support to Toney and his family during this challenging period in his personal and professional life. The club has emphasized the need for confidentiality to protect the player and his family. Discussions regarding the case and associated matters will remain private.
Reduced Sanction: Toney’s original ban of 15 months was reduced to eight months due to his guilty plea. The severity of the offenses, including betting on himself to score when his inclusion in the team was not public knowledge, could have led to a lifetime ban. However, the guilty plea played a role in the reduction of the sanction.
Support from Rio Ferdinand: Former England international Rio Ferdinand, who himself served an eight-month ban in 2004, has offered his support to Ivan Toney. Ferdinand understands the challenges and pressures that come with such a ban and aims to provide assistance to the Brentford forward.
The impact of match fixing extends far beyond the immediate match in question. It erodes fans’ trust and confidence in the sport, damages the reputation of players, clubs, and governing bodies, and can have severe consequences for the individuals involved. Additionally, match fixing undermines the betting industry and can lead to financial losses for legitimate gamblers.
Various forms of match fixing exist, ranging from bribery and manipulation of players, referees, or officials to influencing team selection, tactics, or substitutions. Sophisticated betting syndicates often operate across borders and use illegal means to control the outcomes of matches.
There have been several sports personalities who have faced bans or sanctions in the past due to their involvement in betting activities. Here are a few notable examples:
- Joey Barton (Football): English midfielder Joey Barton received an 18-month ban from football in 2017 for placing over 1,200 bets on matches between 2006 and 2016. The Football Association (FA) charged him with breaching their betting rules.
- Hansie Cronje (Cricket): Former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje was banned for life from cricket in 2000 after admitting to match-fixing and accepting money from bookmakers. His involvement in the scandal shocked the cricketing world.
- Ryan Tandy (Rugby League): Australian rugby league player Ryan Tandy received a lifetime ban in 2012 for attempting to manipulate the first scoring point in a match by conceding a penalty. Tandy’s actions were connected to a betting scam.
- Maurice Greene (Athletics): American sprinter Maurice Greene, a former Olympic champion and world record holder, received a two-year ban in 1998 for using banned substances. While not directly related to betting, it is worth mentioning as it involved a violation of anti-doping rules.
Conclusion: Ivan Toney’s eight-month ban from football due to breaches of FA Rule E8 has shed light on his gambling addiction. While the ban does not relate to match-fixing and Toney was not involved in influencing his team’s performance, he did bet on his own team to lose on multiple occasions. Brentford FC has expressed its commitment to supporting Toney and his family during this difficult period. As the ban concludes, Toney will look forward to returning to training in September and representing Brentford in the Premier League from January 2024 onward.