Brentford striker Ivan Toney says he is “shocked and disappointed” after claims he could receive a six-month ban for alleged breaches of FA betting rules.
The Daily Mail first reported on Tuesday evening that Toney has pleaded guilty to many of the 262 charges issued by the FA last year, but denied others, and could face a six-month ban. The story was then further reported in other outlets.
However, posting on his Instagram story, Toney said he was upset to learn that a confidential process had been leaked to the media while any ban has not yet been decided upon.
A statement read: “I was shocked and disappointed to see press speculation yesterday and today about the FA investigation process concerning me after I have been told by the FA that it is a confidential process until any decision has been made.
“It is especially disturbing for me to read that the FA is saying I shall be banned from football for six months before there has even been a hearing and it does make me worried about the process.
“My lawyers will be writing to the FA to request that they conduct a leak inquiry, as this is the second time stories have appeared in the newspapers – the last time was just before the selection for the England World Cup squad.
“As I continue to be told the investigation is meant to be confidential, I am unable to provide any further comment and shall continue to concentrate on my football.”
The 26-year-old had originally been charged over 232 alleged breaches of betting rules in November, with the charges occurring between February 2017 and January 2021. The following month, Toney was charged with a further 30 alleged breaches of FA betting rules.
The FA will now go through his response before issuing a hearing date. It will then be down to an Independent Regulatory Commission to reach a verdict and issue a subsequent punishment.
The commission will decide whether to dismiss or uphold the charges denied by Toney, based on the evidence. They will then take a cumulative look at all the offences before deciding his punishment.
If that is to happen, it is in Brentford’s interests for it to occur as soon as possible so that he can return without missing too much of next season. Any ban will include the summer months and the Bees are in a strong position in the table this term.
However, it could take the FA several weeks to digest Toney’s response which means a hearing is most likely to take place in April.
Sky Sports News has approached the Football Association for comment.
What are the rules on betting in football?
Betting on football is banned worldwide for all players, managers, coaches, club staff, directors and licensed agents involved in the game within the Premier League, EFL, National League, Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship and the Northern, Southern and Isthmian leagues.
Participants covered by the ban are prohibited from betting, either directly or indirectly, on any football match or competition that takes place anywhere in the world.
The ban also includes betting on any other football-related matter such as the transfer of players, managerial appointments or team selection.
The passing of inside information to somebody that uses the information for betting is also not allowed. Inside information is information that you are aware of due to your position in the game and which is not publicly available, like injury or team selection news.
You are not allowed to use inside information to place a bet or to instruct someone else to do so on your behalf. Equally, you are not allowed to pass inside information on to someone else which they use for betting.