Ivan Toney: A Striker’s Struggle with Gambling Addiction
Ivan Toney, the renowned striker for Brentford, has recently been diagnosed with a gambling addiction. This revelation comes in the wake of the Football Association (FA) releasing the written reasons for his eight-month ban from all football-related activities. The ban was imposed due to Toney’s breach of the FA’s betting rules.
According to the FA’s report, Toney placed 13 bets on his own team to lose between August 2017 and March 2018. Interestingly, Toney was not part of the squad or eligible to play in any of these matches. The report further revealed that Toney had made a total of 126 bets in matches in a competition in which his club had participated or was eligible to participate in that season.
Out of these 126 bets, 29 were in respect of the club that Mr. Toney was registered with or on loan with at the time. These included 16 bets on his own team to win 15 different matches, and 13 bets on his own team to lose in 7 different matches. Notably, 11 of these 13 bets were against Newcastle while Toney was on loan at another club.
Dr. Philip Hopley, a psychiatry expert who was part of the investigation, concluded that Toney had a clear history of gambling addiction. He further stated that Toney exhibited signs of an impulsive compulsive disorder and needed professional help.
The FA’s document also revealed a breach of FA Rule E8.2, an inside information charge. On March 29, 2018, Toney informed a friend that he would be starting in his club’s next match. The circumstances in which this information was provided remain unclear. However, Toney has accepted it as a breach.
The FA stated that had Toney not pleaded guilty to the charges against him, they would have imposed a 15-month ban starting from the beginning of the next season. This would “properly reflect the seriousness of the offences admitted including betting on one’s own team to lose, albeit he was not playing.” However, by pleading guilty, Toney is seen to have saved substantial time and cost, leading to a 25 per cent reduction to 11 months.
Toney can start training with Brentford on the 17th of September, four months from the start of his ban. This will allow him to get fit to resume playing. The FA had initially suggested that the suspension begin at the start of the next season or that a period of suspension could be added on to reflect that he wasn’t playing in the summer. However, this suggestion was rejected by the commission.