‘Football and gambling’s relationship needs a review’

Ivan Toney: Brentford boss Thomas Frank says ‘community work would help more than ban’

Brentford striker Ivan Toney’s eight-month ban is a “massive reminder” that the relationship between football and the gambling industry needs to be reviewed, boss Thomas Frank says.

On Friday it was revealed that Toney was given a reduced ban because of a diagnosed gambling addiction.

“Football and gambling’s relationship needs a review,” said Frank.

“We got a massive reminder. The authorities have a massive task to make sure we do this much better.”

Toney was charged with 262 betting offences at the end of 2022 and was handed a ban last week after he admitted 232 breaches.

He is prohibited from training until 17 September and cannot play football again until 17 January, 2024.

“Yes, Ivan did something wrong but what I don’t get is how can you not let him be involved in football at all for the first four months?” said Frank.

“What do you gain from that? If you want to rehabilitate people you give them education, you do something, and now he is left on his own.

“There’s no doubt for me that the first four months he could be involved in football, he should be forced to go into 100 schools to tell them about his football and background, that’s how it should work, but I’m a football coach, what do I know?”

Ivan Toney: Terms of football ban don’t help rehabilitation, says Gareth Southgate

His comments come after support from England manager Gareth Southgate this week.

On Wednesday, after naming his England squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia, Southgate said: “What bothers me is we’ve got to look after people. He’s injured at the moment, what does he do about getting fit?

“How do we give him some structure over the next few months that he can develop himself or be a better person at the end of it?

“I don’t like the idea we just leave somebody, so they are not allowed to be a part of the football community.

“I don’t think that’s how we should work, I don’t think that’s how the best rehabilitation programmes would work.”

Frank agreed with the England boss and added: “It was a fantastic point he made; If you want to rehabilitate people, you give them education. Do we do enough to educate our players?

“Now we have everything in place, we will put the plan together to do our best to support Ivan.

“If I can’t speak to him, I guess they will have to ban me as well. If I am not allowed to support him there must be something wrong.

“I think you’re allowed to contact people even when they’re in prison aren’t you? So I think I’m allowed.”

Hollywood Bets have been Brentford’s shirt sponsor in both of the past two seasons

Football and gambling

In March, Brentford were reported to be considering cutting ties with Hollywood Bets who have been their main kit sponsor since July 2021.

A month later, Premier League clubs collectively agreed to withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of their matchday shirts by the end of the 2025-26 season.

However, after the deadline, clubs will still be able to continue featuring gambling brands in areas such as shirt sleeves and LED advertising.

And clubs will be allowed to secure new shirt-front deals before the deadline.

Eight top-flight clubs – Bournemouth, Brentford, Everton, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton and West Ham – have gambling companies on the front of their shirts, worth an estimated £60m per year.

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