Brentford striker Ivan Toney could be facing a lengthy suspension from football after being charged with a whopping 232 counts of allegedly breaching betting rules.
The 26-year-old, tipped for a place in England’s World Cup squad, is said to have broken the Football Association’s rules on betting across a near four-year period from February 2017 to January 2021.
Toney, who has assisted the governing body with the investigations, and his representatives now have a week to reply to the findings, with a dossier of evidence compiled by the Football Association against him some 2,800 pages long, according to the Daily Mail.
The exact nature of his alleged breaches are not yet known, although it has been confirmed that the striker has been charged with failing to comply with Rule E8, which prohibits players from betting on football or sharing ‘privileged’ information with others for the purposes of betting.
During the period of time in question, Toney represented five different clubs: Scunthorpe and Wigan (while at parent club Newcastle United), plus Peterborough United and latterly present employer Brentford. Under Rule E8, players cannot discuss with friends or family their potential transfers for the purposes of gaining financially.
A statement from the Bees, reads:
“The club has been in discussion with Ivan and his legal representatives about this matter, and those conversations will continue privately. We will make no further comment until the matter has been completed.”
The FA’s investigation commenced just as Gareth Southgate was about to announce his England squad for the World Cup in Qatar, however the organisation’s chief executive Mark Bullingham has denied telling Southgate not to pick Toney.
FA CEO Mark Bullingham did not tell Gareth Southgate to leave Ivan Toney out of his #ThreeLions squad because of his gambling charge.
He says it was Southgate’s decision purely on football grounds.
— Steve Scott (@stevescott_itv) November 17, 2022
How Long will Ivan Toney Be Banned For?
Ordinarily in these situations, the Football Association will use the precedent of previous cases as a guide when determining sanctions.
They may use the context of two high profile cases to decide if, and how long for, Toney should be banned from professional football.
England defender Kieran Trippier was suspended for ten weeks after revealing to friends that he was likely to move to Atletico Madrid, informing them to ‘lump on’ back in 2020. The FA took a dim view of him sharing such privileged information.
That came a few years after the shock revelations about the betting of former QPR and Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton. He admitted to placing more than 1,200 bets across a ten-year period, and he was banned for 18 months. That effectively ended his career as a professional footballer.
Based on those two cases, you would assume that Toney’s ban would be somewhere in the middle, given the number of offences he has allegedly committed and been charged with. And that could see him suspended until the end of the 2022/23 campaign.