Toney to Arsenal? I bet it won’t happen

So now we known why Ivan Toney was left out of England’s World Cup squad.

The FA rules on betting are clear.

The rules state that players are “prohibited from betting, either directly or indirectly, on any football match or competition that takes place anywhere in the world“.

Any player found guilty of breaking the FA’s strict betting rules can face “financial penalties, suspensions and, in some instances, lifetime bans”.

The worldwide ban on betting on football was introduced for all those involved in the game at Premier League, English Football League, National League and The FA Women’s Super League and The FA Women’s Championship levels, as well as those at clubs in the Northern, Southern and Isthmian leagues and all other Participants who do not fall into the category below.

Now whilst semi-professional in the Isthmian league (tier 7-8 on the English football pyramid) might be able claim ignorance to the law, someone like Ivan Toney would have been educated on the rules during his decade long professional career.

Toney has been charged with 232 breaches of FA betting rules between 25 February 2017 and 23 January 2021.

The FA allege he has either directly or indirectly bet 232 time on any football match or competition that takes place anywhere in the world. This can also include non-90 minutes related bets such as the transfer of players, employment of managers or team selection.

Whilst some might gasp at 232 bets, and try and paint Toney as some sort of gambling addict, it really is not that much over a near 4 year period.

232 bets across 1,428 days is a little under 1 a week.

It is basically a weekend acca, with a mid-week one thrown in when the Champions League is on. Fairly common for many of you reading.

So what sort of punishment is Toney facing, if found guilty.

In 2019, Leeds United’s then 19-year-old midfielder Jordan Stevens was given a six-week ban after he admitted placing 59 bets on games, including five Leeds matches.

Stevens would have been able to present his age and lack of game time as mitigating circumstances having admitted his charge.

He was just a teenager, had played 16 games (15 for Forest Green Rovers, 1 for Leeds United), and only made his professional debut the season prior to being charged.

Ivan Toney, meanwhile, is 26-years-old, has played nearly 400 games from Premier League to League Two over 10 seasons as a professional, and has played for 8 different clubs.

He does not have the naivety of youth as a defence.

In 2019, Kieran Trippier was banned from football activity for 10 weeks and handed a £70,000 fine for telling a friend to “lump on” the prospect of him joining Atletico Madrid before his switch from Tottenham.

Joey Barton was given an 18-month ban in 2017 after placing 1,260 bets on football between 2006 and 2016. The punishment brought about his retirement from playing football, although the term was later reduced by five months on appeal.

Barton’s appeal outlined the guidelines the FA use when dishing out a punishment for betting.

Toney’s punishment will depend on what sort of bet he placed:

Bet placed on own team to win: 0 – 6 months ban
Bet placed on own team to lose: 6 months – life
Spot Bet placed on event not involving the player who bet: 0 – 12 months
Spot Bet placed on event involving the player who bet: 6 months – life
All bets placed not involving his Club (including spot bet): Suspension n/a

When deciding how long the ban is for within the guidlines, the FA consider:

  • Overall perception of impact of bet(s) on fixture/game integrity
  • Player played or did not play
  • Number of
  • Bets Size of
  • Bets
  • Fact and circumstances surrounding pattern of betting
  • Actual stake and amount possible to win
  • Personal Circumstances
  • Previous record – (any previous breach of betting Rules will be considered as a
  • highly aggravating factor)
  • Experience of the participant
  • Assistance to the process and acceptance of the charge

If Toney has only bet on sides he has no connection with, he will not receive a ban.

However, due to his experience, and the volume of bets, I would expect the full 6-month ban if he has bet on any club he has a connection with.

The FA do not define what “having a connection” with means. I would suspect at its minimum it will be any club the player has played for throughout their career.

A ban will almost vertainly rule out Arsenal signing Toney.

I also think a suspension would also kill any potential deal.

There has always been question marks over Toney’s attitude – this year has had 2 videos go viral mocking Brentford.

The first was when he was on holiday, trying to impress some ladies. He was recorded saying “f*** Brentford”.

The second was in a video posted to Twitter. He labelled Brentford as “nowhere exciting” when asked where he played.

Between these videos and his gambling charges, he clearly is not the sort of character that Mikel Arteta is looking to bring into the club.

The viral videos already made him tainted, the impending gambling suspension will be the final nail in the coffin for any Toney to Arsenal transfer.

Keenos

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