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In response to Ivan Toney’s ban from football, England manager Gareth Southgate expressed concern for the player’s well-being and called for support during his enforced absence. The Brentford striker was banned from football for eight months after admitting to 232 breaches of the Football Association’s (FA) betting rules over the past six years.
The FA suspended him from all football-related activity with immediate effect until January 16, 2024, and fined him £50,000. The sanctions were imposed by an independent regulatory commission after a personal hearing.
Toney’s ban was a result of violating the FA’s betting rules between late February 2017 and late January 2021, but the FA withdrew 30 of these breaches and he admitted to the remaining 232. The punishment is a big blow to Toney, who has been in imperious form for the Bees, scoring 20 goals in 33 appearances.
BREAKING: Ivan Toney has been suspended from all football and football-related activity with immediate effect for eight months, fined £50,000, and warned as to his future conduct for breaches of The FA’s Betting Rules. pic.twitter.com/HpAnN3YX7l
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 17, 2023
Toney Still in Southgate’s England Plans
Toney had been called up in September but did not get a cap, and he was not chosen for the World Cup squad. The English forward remains in Southgate’s plans for the 2024 European Championships.
Southgate was supposed to take him to the 2022 FIFA World Cup but decided against it in light of the impending investigations. With Toney being charged, the England manager will continue to keep the door open for him. If the Brentford man can keep up with his prolific form on his return in January, the striker’s skill will be utilized in the England setup.
“He knows we picked him because we felt until there was a charge, he should be allowed to play,” Southgate remarked. “When he comes back, if he plays well, then we’ll pick him.
“I think he’ll have additional motivation through what he’s experiencing and he’s a resilient guy with great character and we are here to support him.”
Southgate Wants Plan for Toney
After Daniel Sturridge and Kieran Trippier, he is the third high-profile footballer to be caught in the web of betting breaches. While Toney has been sanctioned for his betting transgressions, the FA has not provided a plan for his rehabilitation.
"I don't think that's how we should work."
England manager Gareth Southgate has spoken about forward Ivan Toney and the terms of his lengthy ban from football for breaking the FA's betting rules 💬.#BBCFootball #ThreeLions pic.twitter.com/wHhYqo8cO3
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 24, 2023
Southgate expressed his concern about the striker’s situation and highlighted his injury as well. He questioned Toney’s state of affairs and asked for clarity about his way forward. The England manager did not just point at his return to fitness and football but also asked for a way forward where he comes out a better individual after this ordeal.
“What bothers me is that we’ve got to look after people and he’s injured at the moment. What does he do about getting fit?” Southgate questioned. “How do we give him some structure over the next few months so he can develop himself or be a better person at the end of it or have experiences he might not experience?
“I don’t like the idea that we just leave somebody that they are not allowed to be part of the football community. I don’t think that’s how we should work.”
It will be interesting how Toney returns to footballing matters after he goes through his betting sanctions. Brentford has hardly skipped a beat since his punishment was announced, winning in emphatic fashion against West Ham and Tottenham, scoring 5 goals as Thomas Frank found other scoring avenues.