Ivan Toney: Missing World Cup hurt more than betting ban


Brentford superstar Ivan Toney has opened up on his recent ban for breaking Football Association betting rules in a candid interview where he suggested that missing the cut for England’s World Cup squad hurt him more than his eight-month suspension.

Toney was handed his lengthy sentence in May after he admitted to 232 separate beaches of the FA’s betting guidelines. The striker was initially charged with the offences all the way back in November and was subsequently omitted from Gareth Southgate’s squad for Qatar 2022 a month later.

Speaking to YouTube channel Kick Game this week, Toney discussed his run-in with football’s authorities and the fallout that followed in a revealing heart-to-heart.

Toney’s World Cup dreams dashed

Ivan Toney finished as the Premier League’s third-highest scorer in 2022/23 despite his off-field issues, netting 20 times for Brentford to land a third place in the charts behind Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.

Ordinarily, as the division’s second most-prolific Englishman, Toney would have virtually been guaranteed a place in England’s World Cup squad in Qatar, though his betting regulation offences seemed to extinguish any hopes the 27-year-old has of representing his country on the biggest stage.

“Even though I miss eight months of football, that was the biggest punishment, to miss out on a World Cup – everyone’s dream – it is bigger than missing eight months of football.” Toney said to Kick Game on YouTube.

“Support is good, but how I am, I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me.”

“I done what I done before, the punishment is the punishment and get on with it,” Toney said.

“I just have to focus on when I come back training. I want to be a different animal when I come back. It’s going to be frightening.”

“People try to break people down. How it come out, just before the England camp, obviously missing out on the World Cup… In a way, it was kind of like: ‘get out now so you don’t go [away with] England’.

“And then all of a sudden they want to wait until the end of the season… But it is what it is. They wanted to do it that way. I call it a bit spiteful. You just have to get on with it.

Toney collected his first cap for England from the bench in the Three Lions’ 2-0 victory over Ukraine in March, six months after he had first been drafted into the set-up by Gareth Southgate.

People need more help says Toney

Toney, who was handed a reduced ban due to his gambling addiction diagnosis, can return to first-team training with Brentford on September 17, though he cannot play for the Bees again until January 17 next year.

However, while he accepts his ban, Toney believes more should be done to assist people suffering from similar problems, while he also hinted that he will add to his side of the story down the line.

“If the rules are not to bet, you shouldn’t be betting, but for people that need help there should be more around them to stop them going in that direction.

“When the time is right, I’ll speak out on the majority of things and clear a few things up that need to be cleared. That is not now, unfortunately.”

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