Brentford striker Ivan Toney’s betting ban highlights need for review of football-gambling relationship, says boss Thomas Frank
Football and gambling have a complicated relationship that needs to be reviewed following Brentford striker Ivan Toney’s eight-month ban for breaking Football Association betting rules. Toney was given a reduced sentence because he has been diagnosed with a gambling addiction. He admitted to over 200 breaches of the rules and is prohibited from training until September.
The severity of his punishment has called into question the approach taken by football authorities regarding player rehabilitation. Coach Thomas Frank suggests that forcing players like Toney to speak at schools would provide better long-term results than simply banning them from the sport they love.
Gareth Southgate supports player welfare during bans
Ivan Toney isn’t allowed to play or train for eight months following his breach, which led England Manager Gareth Southgate being critical about how it affects people’s wellbeing overall. The coach suggested ways in which banned players could remain involved in football communities so they can learn and grow while not playing.
In response, Thomas Frank agreed with Gareth Southgate saying: “If you want to rehabilitate people, you give them education.”
Football clubs reconsidering sponsorship deals:
Clubs have also been rethinking their sponsorship arrangements with bookmakers in light of these recent events. In March this year, Brentford considered ending its deal with Hollywood Bets who had previously sponsored their kit since July last year. Similarly, Premier League clubs decided earlier this year that all front-of-shirt advertising involving gambling companies will end by the beginning of the 2025-26 season.