Toney, 8 month disqualification, 232 bets

The Brentford striker was stopped in mid-May due to a suspension which prevented him from even entering his club’s facilities for 4 months. Playing was normal for him, even in the matches in which he was the protagonist

From our correspondent in London Davide Chinellato

Eight months. The longest betting ban ever handed out to a Premier League player is still ongoing. It concerns Ivan Toney, the Brentford striker stopped in mid-May and in the pits until January 16, due to a disqualification with extenuating circumstances which prevented him from even entering his club’s facilities for 4 months. The accusation was very serious: having violated the rule that prohibits players from betting 232 times in the space of 4 years. And Toney had bet on his team’s matches several times.

the accusations

Toney had his sentence reduced because the independent commission of the FA, the English federation, which handed him the sentence recognized that he had an addiction to gambling. The initial accusations (leaked at the end of October 2022, so much so that the striker probably missed out on being called up to the World Cup with England) spoke of 262 violations between 25 February 2017, when Toney was playing in League One with Scunthorpe United ( on loan from Newcastle), and on 23 January 2021, when he was in the Championship with Brentford in their promotion season to the Premier League. After initial talks with the FA, 30 charges were dropped and the striker admitted guilt in the other 232. The reasons for the sentence also shed light on the type of bets Toney made: they included 126 bets on football matches championships in which the attacker played, 29 of which were for his own teams. Toney bet on the team’s victory on 16 occasions: he was on the field in 11 of those games and was on the bench in one. The striker bet on his team’s defeat 13 times between 22 August 2017 and 3 March 2018, always when he was not available. Toney also once told a friend to bet that he would start his team’s next match, which was a breach of the rules which the forward admitted.

mitigated sentence

Although Toney, by his own admission, lied to the FA early on in the investigation, his subsequent co-operation and admission of guilt led to a lighter sentence. The initial sentence, for failure to cooperate, would have been 15 months from the start of 2023-24. The fact that the attacker pleaded guilty and showed “genuine remorse” led to a 25% reduction, lowering the ban to 11 months. A further three months’ discount was granted after a psychiatrist chosen by the FA recognized Toney as having a “gambling addiction, which is reflected in his inability to control himself for years – as stated in the reasons for the sentence -. Toney has stopped betting on football, limiting himself to other sports and casino games, and has shown a willingness to resolve his gambling addiction with therapy.”

rules and regulations

The rules in England mean that Premier League players, but also managers, managers, members of technical and managerial staff and even agents are prohibited from betting on any football match being played around the world. At any level. It is forbidden to bet personally or through nominees, or to do so directly on the result of the match or on performances or situations such as transfers or the dismissal of a coach. Passing information about your team or championship to third parties is also prohibited. In addition to Toney, Harry Toffolo of Nottingham Forest is also banned for betting, having been found guilty of 375 breaches of the rules between 2014 and 2017. The 5-month ban, however less than the 8 imposed on Toney, is suspended until the end of 2024-25 and Toffolo will not have to serve them if he does not commit other violations. The previous disqualification for betting had been inflicted on Kieran Trippier, a right winger now of Newcastle and the English national team who was suspended for 10 weeks for having given friends information about his transfer to Atletico Madrid in 2020 on which they had bet. The 8 months imposed on Toney are the third longest ban in history for a Premier League player, shorter only than the 9 months imposed on Eric Cantona for the famous flying kick to a fan in January 1995 and the 9 months that Mark Bosnich, then at Chelsea, received a positive test for cocaine which also cost him the sack.


In an interview in late August, his first since his suspension, Toney said he realized he was in trouble when, once the investigation into him became public, he began to be rejected at restaurants and problems with his car insurance company, which canceled the policy. He then said that he approached the world of betting at 15 years old and how his gambling addiction affected his life. “The more money I had, the more I bet – he said -. I had reached a point where when the salary arrived I paid what there was to pay and then thought about what to bet with the rest. I thought the money was mine and I could do whatever I wanted with it. I take full responsibility for what I did, if I could go back I would change something but it happened the way it happened. I’ve stopped betting now, not just on football but on anything, and I’m only thinking about coming back stronger than before.”

second chance

Toney resumed training with Brentford on 17 September, and although he won’t be able to return to the pitch before 16 January, after 8 months of inactivity, he is already a transfer man. Last season in the Premier League he climbed onto the goal podium behind Erling Haaland and Harry Kane, and the great English clubs, starting with Chelsea and Arsenal, are ready to invest in him. Even paying Brentford the 90 million euros that the Bees are asking for. A full-blown second chance.