Just weeks shy of the World Cup, Brentford striker Ivan Toney has confirmed he is ‘assisting the FA with their enquiries’ after he was the subject of betting allegations.
The 26-year-old has scored eight Premier League goals so far this term, and with Harry Kane the only Englishman to net more it was thought that Toney was a shoe-in to be on the plane to Qatar.
However, that might now all change after media reports claimed Toney had been caught betting on football games – prohibited under Football Association law.
So far Toney has released a short message on his Twitter feed, confirming his talks with the FA but refusing to comment further.
— Ivan Toney (@ivantoney24) November 5, 2022
Brentford too have kept a relative vow of silence, releasing a short statement that reads:
“We note the story concerning Ivan Toney and the FA investigation. The club will not be commenting.”
Further details of the alleged betting activity are not known at this time, although The Sun has reported that the alleged bets were placed during Toney’s time at one of his former clubs – the FA are investigating retrospectively. The newspaper’s source claims the striker is ‘concerned but adamant he has done nothing wrong.’
There are no suggestions that Toney has fixed matches or been involved in criminal activity, and he is yet to be charged for any wrongdoing by the FA.
The Football Association’s probe may take until after the World Cup to be completed, and that would leave England head coach Gareth Southgate in something of a predicament. Can he realistically take a player, regardless of their form, if they have allegations of betting hanging over them? He will name his 26-man squad for Qatar this Thursday.
All Bets Are Off
The Football Association has strict rules prohibiting anyone involved in professional football – including players, coaches, club staff and match officials – from betting on games, even those they aren’t playing in.
The ban extends to ‘assisting’ friends or family members with inside information, and covers alternative betting markets such as managerial sackings and transfers as well.
Another England ace, Kieran Trippier, was banned for ten weeks and issued a £70,000 fine back in December 2020 when he told friends in a WhatsApp group to ‘lump on’ with the bookies that his next club, dating back to the summer of 2019, would be Atletico Madrid following his transfer from Tottenham.
One of his chums, Oliver Hawley, placed ten separate bets on that outcome when Trippier messaged him ‘it’s happening’.
Another former England international, Daniel Sturridge, was banned for four months after being charged with two counts of providing inside information for gambling purposes back in 2018.
The FA ruled that he had instructed his brother to bet on Sturridge to join Sevilla from Liverpool in the January transfer window The move to Spain never materialised, and the striker was fined £150,000 to add to his woes.