Ivan Toney’s ban from soccer was reduced because of gambling addiction

MANCHESTER, England — Ivan Toney was diagnosed with a gambling addiction after being charged with 232 counts of breaching English soccer’s betting rules, an independent regulatory commission said in a ruling published Friday.

The Brentford striker last week was suspended for eight months because of the breaches. The independent commission said in its report that the punishment could have been worse if not for the diagnosis of his condition.

Toney has been banned from all soccer and soccer-related activity with immediate effect until Jan. 16, 2024. He was also fined $62,000.

Among a “substantial number of breaches,” some of Toney’s bets could have resulted in the maximum punishment of a lifetime ban, the report said. They included 13 bets on his own team to lose.

The commission described Toney as a “prolific gambler” who the English Football Association contend was part of a “sophisticated system” to place bets over a long period of time.

However, testimony from Dr. Philip Hopley, a consultant psychiatrist, played a significant part in the length of Toney’s ban. The commission said the player’s gambling addiction provided “significant mitigation.”

Toney already had a potential 15-month suspension reduced to 11 months because he pleaded guilty to the charges.

The commission said Hopley’s diagnosis was of “particular importance” and should result in a “significant reduction” of the ban.

“The lack of control the player has in respect of gambling is clearly a reflection of his diagnosed gambling addiction,” the ruling said. “The position appears to be that Mr. Toney has ceased gambling on football although he still gambles on other sports and casino games. He is determined to address his gambling problem with therapy at the conclusion of this season.

“Taking all of those matters into account the Commission reduces the sanction by 3 months to a suspension of 8 months.”

James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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