Brentford and England striker Ivan Toney suspended for eight months over breaking betting rules

Mick the Ram

May 18, 2023

The Football Association (FA) have announced that the Brentford FC forward Ivan Toney has been banned from football for a period of eight months, after he accepted breaking betting rules, with a staggering 232 breaches upheld.

In addition, the talented striker has also been charged £50,000 and received a strong warning about his future conduct. His ban began with immediate effect, although the highly-rated 27-year-old can return to training with Brentford half way through his suspension, which will trigger on 17 September, but his will not be permitted to play again until 17 January, 2024.

The offences took place between 2017 and 2021, although details of what the charges actually relate to have yet to be confirmed, with the FA simply saying that a full report will be published as soon as possible.

Betting on football in any fashion is banned worldwide for all players, managers, coaches, club staff, directors and licensed agents, who are involved in the professional game.

Toney will not now be increasing his goals tally from the 20 he has scored this season, or indeed adding any time soon to his first England cap won as a late substitute in the 2-0 Euro 2024 qualifying win over Ukraine, in March this year.

He is expected to appeal the suspension once the full details are released.

Offences over four year period

Toney was initially charged with 262 breaches of the FA rule E8, but 30 of these were subsequently withdrawn. He committed the offences whilst representing Scunthorpe United, Wigan Athletic, Peterborough United and Brentford between 25 February, 2017, and 23 January, 2021.

He will miss the final two games of the season, including the last match of the season against the likely champions Manchester City.

Independent decision not FA

In a statement, the FA said: “His sanctions were subsequently imposed by an independent Regulatory Commission following a personal hearing.” This commission is normally made up of people very senior within the game, with the addition of  lawyers, and former high court judges.

The FA went on to say: “The written reasons for these will be published in due course, and we will wait to review them before commenting further.”

Waiting game for player and club

The player himself later posted on social media to say he was “disappointed” with the ban, but would not be commenting further until the written reasons were published. 

His club also said that they noted the decision, but were also awaiting the publication of the report before considering their next steps.

Players know the rules

It is unknown at this stage exactly what the player did, but if it entailed passing on information then that is something that is strictly forbidden. Inside knowledge – which might be data that a player due to their position in the game is aware of but which is not publicly available – that is handed to others and which is subsequently used for betting purposes, is not allowed, and those within the sport have that fact made clear to them.

The betting laws in the UK are often described as some of the most liberal anywhere. Attitudes do tend to vary hugely from country to country, going as far as to differ from state to state in the US.

Huge blow to Toney’s career

This is likely to have a serious affect on Toney’s career. He has become hot property after forcing his way into Gareth Southgate’s thinking and was expected to make the next England squad.

A major move was being speculated with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea said to be big admirers. His manager, Thomas Frank, has strongly backed the player, meaning that he will undoubtedly be welcomed back to the west London outfit as soon as he can, with two years left on his contract.

Others have also breached the rules

He is not the first player to fall foul of the betting rules. England defender Kieran Trippier was banned for 10 weeks by the FA in December 2020, for passing on information for others to bet on, with regards to his transfer from Tottenham to Atletico Madrid.

In 2017, the controversial Joey Barton, who was at that time playing for Burnley, was banned for 18 months – subsequently reduced to 13 on appeal – after admitting placing 1,260 football-related bets, over a 10-year period.

Lower down the football pyramid two Boston United players – Andi Thanoj and Jay Rollins – were found guilty of placing 757 bets between them and banned for five months, in 2021.

Irony at the top of his club

Ironically, Brentford’s owner, Matthew Benham, is himself a former professional gambler and the founder of SmartOdds, a company that provides data services to companies “looking to outsmart the sports betting markets.”


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