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Ivan Toney diagnosed with gambling addiction, football suspension reduced

Brentford striker Ivan Toney was issued a reduced penalty for Football Association breaches on Friday due to a gambling addiction diagnosis.

The athlete admitted to 232 breaches of the Football Association rule E8 and was banned from football for 11 months. The sentence was reduced to eight months following a psychiatric evaluation which diagnosed Toney with a gambling addiction and recommended that he receive help.

According to FA rule E8, players were prohibited from any form of football gambling. Toney’s case is one of the association’s most controversial gambling breaches.

The athlete was accused of repeatedly placing wagers on football matches where his own team played. He bet on 13 occasions against his team but was not involved in those games. The athlete also bet 16 times on his team’s wins and played in 11 games.

Toney made 11 bets against New Castle while he was with another team on loan. Placing bets on your team losing carries a life ban, as well as wagering on your performance in a match. Toney was found to have done so when he placed 15 bets on himself to score and 16 bets for his team to win.

Toney was found to have placed 126 bets overall on matches his team participated in. Out of the figure, 29 bets were related to the football club he was signed or loaned to at the time.

The athlete also reportedly shared inside information about a match with other people, used third parties to bet, and withheld information during the investigation.

In a release, the FA stated that Toney had lied multiple times during the initial investigation. The association also claimed that while he had stopped placing bets on football, the athlete was still betting on other sports and was determined to go to therapy for his gambling addiction.

The panel pointed out that Toney’s lack of respect when gambling was an indication of his diagnosed gambling addiction.

The FA initially intended to suspend Toney for 15 months for attempting to destroy relevant information. He was found to have deleted related messages from his phone and gave the association intentionally false answers during interviews.

Toney’s charge was eventually reduced to 11 months for admitting to all 232 violations which occurred between 2017 and 2021. His suspension was further reduced to eight months after the panel considered his age at the time and his addiction diagnosis.

“It is common ground between the parties that … the sanction should be reduced in respect of the personal mitigation that is available to Mr Toney,” it stated.

“This includes his relative youth at the time when the breaches began, his previous good record in respect of anything other than on-field breaches, and his genuine remorse, which he expressed in fulsome terms before the commission.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Philip Hopley who made the diagnosis sat with Toney on two occasions and claimed that he had “well reasoned and highly persuasive” to support his diagnosis.

Toney’s team, Brentford, released a statement on Friday, promising to do everything in their power to support the athlete.

“The commission noted that none of the charges related to events where Ivan could negatively impact his own team,” the statement read.

“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. 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.”

Toney also broke his silence, promising fans that he would soon speak “with no filter.” The player has been an integral part of Brentford’s performance this season, having scored 20 Premier League goals.

Brentford’s manager, Thomas Frank, spoke in defense of Toney, stating that rather than suspending him and leaving him to his devices, it was advisable to rehabilitate the player.

“He should be forced to go into a hundred schools to tell them about his football and background, that’s how it should work, but I’m a football coach, what do I know?” Frank said.

“If I can’t speak to him, then they will have to ban me. If I am not allowed to speak to him on a support level there must be something wrong. I think you’re allowed to contact people even when they’re in prison aren’t you? So I think I’m allowed.”

Toney was also issued a £50,000 fine for the breaches and given a formal warning for his future conduct. His suspension goes into effect immediately; however, Toney will be able to begin training after four months.

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