Iven Toney won’t play football again in 2023 after a Football Association panel decided to ban him for eight months for breaking betting rules.
The Brentford striker will his miss his team’s final games of the 2022/23 campaign and the first half of next season after the FA took a non-nonsense approach in their sanctioning.
Toney admitted to placing 232 bets on football games over a four-year period, and while he wasn’t directly involved in any of them it is prohibited for professional players to wager on the sport.
He has also been fined £50,000, and won’t kick a ball in anger until January 17 next year.
The 27-year-old took to Twitter to announce his ‘disappointment’ at the length of his ban, before thanking those that have stood by him.
“I make no further comment at this point other than to thank my family and friends, Brentford FC and our fans for their continued support, through what has been a very difficult time. I now focus on returning to play the game I love next season.”
— Ivan Toney (@ivantoney24) May 17, 2023
An independent regulatory commission will now publish their reasons in writing for the nature of the ban, with Brentford intimating that they may appeal the decision as they ‘consider our next steps.’
In the only other similar case in English football, Joey Barton placed six times as many bets as Toney over a ten-year period – he was eventually banned from football for 13 months.
What are the Longest Bans in English Football?
Worse than racism, only marginally better than kung-fu kicking a fan in the face.
That’s the FA’s verdict on footballer’s betting on the beautiful game when viewed through the prism of previous offences.
Luis Suarez was banned for eight games for racially abusing Patrice Evra in 2011. That is, effectively, a two-month ban – a quarter of the punishment metered out on Toney.
When Eric Cantona saw red and leapt into the crowd at Selhurst Park after being sent off while playing for Manchester United, he was banned for just nine months – despite breaking the law.
All of which suggests Toney has been treated quite harshly – particularly when you consider that English football has been only too quick to jump into bed with the gambling industry in return for financial favours.
Barton’s ban remains the longest in Premier League history, with lengthy suspensions for Abel Xavier, Mark Bosnich and Adrian Mutu of twelve, nine and nine months respectively for testing positive for drugs.
Enoch West was banned for 30 years in 1915 over match fixing offences – before refusing to enlist to the armed services for the First World War, which would have seen his punishment expunged. In the modern era, former Lincoln City full back Bradley Wood was banned for six years after admitting to deliberately getting booked in two FA Cup games back in 2016/17.
The only lifetime ban to be issued to a professional footballer in England went to former Torquay United goalkeeper Olafur Gottskalksson, who deliberately missed a drugs test in 2005 as he battled a cocaine addiction.