fbpx Skip to main content

Thomas Frank said Ivan Toney’s future will be at Brentford after the striker was handed an eight-month ban for gambling offences.

The 27-year-old was found by the Football Association to have committed 232 breaches of its betting rules between 2017 and 2021.

It means Brentford’s top scorer will now not play again until January 2024, with the suspension also prohibiting him from working with his team-mates at the club’s training ground until September.

The FA indicated on Thursday it will apply to FIFA to have the ban extended worldwide, thereby ruling out the possibility of Toney being loaned abroad for the duration.

He has scored 20 of Brentford’s 54 Premier League goals this season as well as having made his debut for Gareth Southgate’s England side in what has been a breakthrough year for the former Peterborough forward.

Despite the suspension, Frank indicated that Toney will still have a future at the Gtech Stadium, though the club are awaiting clarification on the finer points of the punishment.

“I’ve been in contact with him. He’s disappointed and sad about the situation,” said Frank. “His future is with Brentford, there’s no doubt about that.

“We are waiting for the information so we know what we can do. What he’s allowed to do, especially for the first four months.

“One thing is for sure, we will do everything to be there for him, support him and be aware of the mental health in it.

“He’s made some mistakes, but we need to be there, and want to be there, for him and help him. We just need to know what we are allowed to do.”

Toney was first charged with 262 betting offences in November and December, with the FA later withdrawing 30 of the charges. He admitted to the remaining 232 in February, but it took a further three months for the punishment to be decided upon.

The charges stretch back to when he was a Newcastle player on loan at Scunthorpe and cover his time at Peterborough and his first years at Brentford.

Frank was asked for his views on the link between football and the gambling industry, particularly since Brentford carry the name of an online gambling site on their shirts.

He said that owing to the length of the ban, it was important that the club consider the mental health implications for the England striker.

“It is a challenge, for me personally, all the advertising for gambling done by clubs (and) individuals in the game, I think that’s an issue,” he said.

“I don’t know the full details of how much support or education the authorities provide. I know the Premier League and FA have a lot of initiatives in place that try to educate people out there.

“Education is the key thing. Across the world, education is the number one thing if you want to change a culture and mindset. That takes a lot of hard work and patience.

“We need to be aware of the mental health in this. Ivan is a footballer but he is also a human being that has family, a partner, young children, a mum and dad, siblings and friends and he has been on the front pages quite a lot.

“We need to do whatever to support him in that aspect.”