England manager Gareth Southgate has underlined the need for rehabilitation and support for Ivan Toney, who has been handed an eight month suspension from football for breaching the FA’s gambling rules.
The support of the England manager came just prior to the details of the forward’s breaches coming to light, as it was revealed that a diagnosis for gambling addiction led to mitigation for Toney’s sentence.
After he had hidden his gambling habits from English football’s governing body during initial interviews, the FA was seeking to sanction the Bees’ striker with a ban of over two years.
As the FA published the full report into Toney’s offences , it was also revealed that the Brentford star had placed 29 bets involving the club he was affiliated to at the time – with 13 on his team to lose. Nonetheless, it was deemed that during these matches, Toney wasn’t in a position to influence the outcome.
The 27-year-old, who vowed to ‘speak his truth with no filter’, also bet on his team to win on 15 occasions and backed himself to score another 15 times.
That being said, the regulatory commission emphasised that the investigation stated Toney wasn’t involved in match-fixing.
In spite of being out until the start of 2024, Southgate has stated that Toney is still very much in contention for a spot at the European Championships.
Taking aim at the punishment, Southgate stated: “I have spoken with him. I don’t know if that’s allowed by the way, but if it isn’t then they can ban me and not add to his.
“The ban is the ban. He’s recognised and accepted the punishment. What bothers me is we’ve got to look after people.
“He’s injured at the moment, what does he do about getting fit? How do we give him some structure over the next few months so that he can develop himself or be a better person at the end of it or have experiences that he might not experience?
“I don’t like the idea we just leave somebody, that they’re not allowed to be part of the football community. I don’t think that’s how we should work, how the best rehabilitation programmes work.
“He knows that we picked him because we felt until there was a charge he should be allowed to play. When he comes back, if he plays well, then we’ll pick him.
“It won’t have any bearing but I think he’ll have additional motivation through what he is experiencing. He’s a resilient guy with great character and we’re here to support him.”
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