By Euan Burns
Brentford and England striker Ivan Toney is currently serving a lengthy football ban for betting offences.
Toney, who has established himself as one of the Premier League’s most impressive strikers, faced the charge at a time when he was also carving out a career in England and dreaming of playing at the 2022 World Cup.
The suspension has divided opinion with many thinking he has been caught breaking the rules and is facing the music, while others highlight the hypocrisy in football with so many betting sponsors in the game.
Here is the background on the suspension and when Toney will be free to return to play in the Premier League with Brentford.
Why was Ivan Toney banned from football?
In May 2023, the FA announced that Toney would be banned from playing for Brentford and England for eight months. He was found to have broken betting laws on 232 separate occasions.
The ban came just before the 2023 summer transfer window, with Manchester United he said he was interested at the time.
A We read in the press release from the Football Federation: “Ivan Toney has been suspended from all football and football-related activities with immediate effect for eight months, up to and including 16 January 2024, fined £50,000 and cautioned regarding his future conduct for breaching the FA’s betting rules.
“The Brentford FC striker was charged with 262 breaches of FA Rule E8 in total between 25 February 2017 and 23 January 2021. The FA subsequently withdrew 30 of these breaches and he admitted the remaining 232.”
The ban also meant Toney missed the 2022 World Cup when he was in serious conflict for a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad. The allegations emerged around the time Southgate was about to make his squad announcement, although the ban was only imposed months later. Toney was less than impressed with the timing.
He said afterwards: “It’s kind of like taking it out now so you don’t go to England and then suddenly they want to wait until the end of the season to do that sort of thing, but listen, it is what it is.
“If they want to do that, I call it a bit spiteful, but it is what it is and you just have to move on. The biggest punishment, even though I miss eight months of football, that was the biggest punishment. Losing a World Cup, the everyone’s dream, it’s bigger than losing eight months of football. I believe in myself and I hope to be there for the next one.”
When will Ivan Toney return from suspension?
There are two phases to this. Toney will not be able to play properly for Brentford or England until the end of his eight-month ban on January 16, 2024.
Despite this, part of the terms of Toney’s ban allow him to train with Brentford once he has served the first four months of his ban. He trained alone but from the end of September he will be able to participate fully with the Bees again.
This is great news for the team and the player as it means that when the ban ends, Toney will be very close to full match fitness. There is always a hidden delay when players are out of action for a long period, although usually through injury, as they have to recover and then get fit in training before they are of any use.
Toney’s eight-month ban was actually reduced after he was diagnosed with a gambling addiction.
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This article was originally published on 90min.com as When Ivan Toney will be able to play again once the betting ban ends.