Brentford FC manager Thomas Frank has expressed his frustration over the expected six-month ban the English Football Association (FA) intends to impose on striker Ivan Toney for betting infractions. Frank stated that the ban will be like a “prison sentence” for the troubled soccer player.
The controversy surrounding Toney has been compounded by the fact that he is subjected to racist abuse, yet is expected to be punished more severely for his gambling violations. The FA’s mixed messages about gambling in English soccer have been criticized by Frank, who also noted that commercial relationships between gambling companies and soccer may confuse the message further.
Additionally, Toney’s jersey sponsor, Hollywood Bets, is prominently displayed each time he takes the field for Brentford – a fact which Frank believes should prompt the UK government to introduce regulations to prevent such situations.
The UK government is currently evaluating a ban on betting advertising around soccer as part of broader gambling reforms, and is expected to agree to an English Premier League (EPL) proposal for a self-enforced ban on front-of-jersey sponsorship.
Despite the impending sanctions, Toney has been recalled to the England team ahead of their upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine this week. He is currently one of the top three goal-scorers in the EPL this season with 18 goals.