Ivan Toney has reportedly admitted to ‘multiple charges’ of breaching FA gambling rules by betting on football, meaning the Brentford striker could receive a ‘lengthy ban’.
Last November, it was revealed Toney had been hit with 232 breaches before a further 30 were added in December.
Toney missed out on a place in England’s World Cup squad despite his fine form this season. Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate admitted it had nothing to do with the FA’s investigation.
Despite not going to Qatar, the 26-year-old has continued his terrific form in the Premier League, scoring four in seven since the domestic season resumed.
This, and the FA investigation, have failed to deter Toney on the pitch; however, he has reportedly pled guilty to many of the charges.
An FA disciplinary hearing is believed to be ‘imminent’.
A ban would rule Toney out of contention for England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Ukraine and Italy next month.
The ‘most likely outcome’ would be a ‘suspension lasting several months’, having compared the player’s case to Joey Barton’s in 2017.
Barton was suspended for 18 months after admitting placing 1260 bets between 2006 and 2013. His ban was reduced to 13 months following an appeal, however.
The report adds that Toney and Brentford may hope for a prompt suspension so it can be served over the summer.
A return for the start of next season may be more crucial than the 26-year-old being available for the end of 2022-23, given the Bees’ Premier League safety already being secured, barring an absolute disaster, like Thomas Frank waking up and deciding he wants a different career.
Saying that, it would be a huge blow to their unexpected push for European football.
The alleged breaches took place between February 2017 and January 2021, during Toney’s stints with Scunthorpe, Wigan, Peterborough and Brentford.
Under contract with Brentford until 2025, Toney has been linked with a move to Manchester United.
Speaking in December, Bees boss Thomas Frank said that Toney has been fully focused on his football despite the alleged breaches.
“Of course we’ve tried to support him in the best possible way we can,” Frank said.
“You’ve seen all the statements we’ve put out there but for me the most important thing is that, looking at the player and the person, he is focused on the football.
“He is training well, he is doing everything he can to prepare and be ready to score goals on Boxing Day against Tottenham.”