Ivan Toney hits out at betting ban: ‘Somebody is out to get me’

Ivan Toney was in the stands for Brentford’s opening match of the season

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Ivan Toney has spoken out about his eight-month ban for breaking betting rules, questioning whether his participation in the World Cup was sabotaged and insisting he did commit the majority of the 232 breaches he admitted to.

During the disciplinary process, Toney accepted most of the 262 breaches with which the Football Association charged the him, and in May the Brentford striker was handed a lengthy suspension and a £50,000 fine.

Betting on football is banned outright for professional players. Toney’s violations took place over five seasons from February 2017 to January 2021 and included bets on his own club to lose, although he did not play in those matches.

The 27-year-old was on the brink of playing in his first World Cup when the news first broke last November, and he claims the timing – several months before he was actually banned – was deliberate in order to sabotage his chances of playing for Gareth Southgate’s side in Qatar.

Speaking on the latest Diary of a CEO podcast, Toney said: “Personally, I feel like it was a bit of a questionable time when they decided to bring it all out, and then when they actually dealt with the situation at the end of the season, I felt like ‘why did you bring it out then?’


“Yes I’m banned now, but the biggest punishment was me missing out of the World Cup, personally. I felt more hurt and down around the time, like someone was out to get me at the time to stop me playing for England – in my head that’s how I saw it at the time: they want to punish me for this, playing for England at the World Cup – it’s everyone’s dream to play at the World Cup – and then further down the line ban me as well. It’s like a double hit.”

The FA revealed that he had placed 13 bets on his own teams to lose in seven different matches during the 2017-18 season. Eleven of these bets were placed on a match against Newcastle when he was out on loan away from the club. Two other bets were placed on a game between Wigan and Aston Villa, but Toney, on-loan at Wigan at the time, was not involved in the matchday squad.

“There were people saying it was match-fixing but none of it was match-fixing. I was betting on myself to score first from a while back and that’s not – I’m still trying to do the right thing. It’s not like I’m smashing into people for a yellow card here there and everywhere.”

And he insisted that never lied to the FA about his betting history during an intense five-hour meeting. “I didn’t lie, I just couldn’t remember what they were asking for. They were putting so many things in front of me, like I said I cooperated with everything they wanted to do and then I told them the truth about everything.”

Asked about his admission of breaching betting rules on 232 occasions, Toney insisted: “The majority of those I didn’t do but I took responsibility so the whole process could be cleared up … There are some that I don’t recall making. But I was willing to take responsibility just to get the process over and done with because having that hover over me and having that over my career was far from the best feeling, and I did well to finish on 20 goals with that hanging over me.”

Toney also claimed he was blocked from entering a restaurant in the aftermath due to the negative press that surrounded him, and that a car insurance company refused to let him renew his policy.

The FA has been contacted for comment.

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