Gambling addiction diagnosis reduced Ivan Toney’s suspension
Ivan Toney’s ban for repeated betting breaches was reduced after it was revealed he has been diagnosed with a gambling addiction.
The written reasons for the eight-month betting ban imposed on the Brentford forward were published on Friday and it found Toney had bet on himself to score in addition to betting on his own club to lose during a four-year period.
It did state, however, that: “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.”
Toney was charged with 262 betting offences in November and was last week banned from all football activity until January 17 after he admitted 232 breaches.
An independent regulatory commission imposed Toney’s sanctions, which included a £50,000 fine, following a personal hearing and he is not able to train with club side Brentford until September 17.
Psychiatrist Dr Philip Hopley attended Toney’s personal hearing and diagnosed that Toney has a gambling addiction.
“The commission finds that a significant reduction should be made to reflect the diagnosed gambling addiction identified by Dr Hopley,” the written reasons document said.
“The lack of control the player has in respect of gambling is clearly a reflection of his diagnosed gambling addiction.
“The present case is not one of match-fixing. If it was, the charges would have been pursued under different provisions.
“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.”
Toney’s 232 breaches of FA Rule E8, the general prohibition on betting on football by a participant, took place over five seasons from February 25, 2017 to January 23, 2021.
It has been revealed the forward placed 13 bets on his own team to lose in seven different matches during the 2017-18 season, 11 of these bets were against Newcastle when he was out on loan away from the St James’ Park club.
Two other bets were placed on a game between Wigan and Aston Villa, but Toney, on-loan at Wigan at the time, was not involved in the matchday squad.
England international Toney also bet on his own team to win 15 different matches and himself to score in nine different matches, the commission found.
The FA had called for a minimum ban of 12 months but the commission reduced it due to his guilty plea and took away a further three months from his suspension owing to his gambling addiction diagnosis.
“Of particular importance, the Commission finds that a significant reduction should be made to reflect the diagnosed gambling addiction identified by Dr Hopley,” the written reasons read.
“The lack of control the player has in respect of gambling is clearly a reflection of his diagnosed gambling addiction. The position appears to be that Mr Toney has ceased gambling on football although he still gambles on other sports and casino games.
“He is determined to address his gambling problem with therapy at the conclusion of this season.
“Taking all of those matters into account the Commission reduces the sanction by 3 months to a suspension of 8 months. There is no clear and compelling reason to suspend any part of that suspension.”
It was also revealed the FA invited the Commission to order the suspension to begin from the commencement of next season, but it was decided to implement the ban immediately.
Toney’s club, Brentford, have promised to support the 27-year-old with his gambling addiction.
“Ivan and Brentford FC accept that offences were committed and sanctions were inevitable,” a club statement read.
“The commission noted that none of the charges related to events where Ivan could negatively impact his own team. The detail is included in the written reasons.
“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.”