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Andros Townsend opens up on his gambling past and claims Ivan Toney has been mistreated

Andros Townsend opens up on his gambling past and claims Ivan Toney has been mistreated surrounding his ban for breaching betting rules.

A month ago, Andros Townsend joined Laura Woods on talkSPORT Breakfast and talked about his previous betting ban and was critical of Ivan Toney’s gambling situation.

The Brentford striker was charged with 232 breaches of the FA’s betting rules in November and now can’t play football or train until January 2024 and has been handed a £50,000 fine.

Toney has also been diagnosed with a gambling addiction, leading his sanction to be reduced by three months.

Unlike Toney, the ex-Premier League player was handed a 12-month suspended ban and told to attend counselling as part of his punishment.

LW: All of the details are out there for you to be able to read teams that he wasn’t actually playing in um that he bet against so bet against them um better for them to lose. Um people may not know this Andrew so you’re actually charged in 2013 weren’t you under the same regulations you’ve actually opened up since then you’ve talked about what you called crippling temptations to gamble and we’re talking I imagine about shirt sponsorship and betting across um banners the way that you can have an app on your phone and it is so easy to get really addicted to this kind of thing um you were handed a 12 month suspended ban and ordered to attend counseling as as part of your punishment before we speak about Ivan Toney tell us a little bit about what happened how it affected you

AT: It was just as I was um coming through I was out on loan quite a bit I was in hotels on my own I was single at the time and there was a big gambling coach I think I was at Leeds on loan there’s a big gambling culture and I knew beforehand I had a addictive personality I knew I needed to avoid gambling I needed to avoid drinking but for some reason I just got sucked in um and it just spiraled over the course of a year two years where I was just literally all I was doing was betting on an app it felt didn’t feel like real money just felt like games and yeah I got charged with 76 counts of illegal bets in not on my own team but in teams in my division which was illegal at the time and um I thought I was going to get banned I thought my career was over um before it even started um but I think I was thankful that the FA did in my situation they did see that I had a massive problem they didn’t throw the book at me they went down the rehabilitation route and that’s why for me like reading this Ivan Toney stuff, so I had my case with the to go to the FA and put my case forward to a panel and nothing was released nobody knew anything and they said that they wanted to kind of help me they didn’t want to turn public opinion against me before they made their decision and at the same time it was Luis Suarez’s racism case against um Patrice Evra and lots of stuff was getting leaked and they did that because they wanted public opinion against Luis Suarez before they made their decision so it just confuses me why stuff was getting leaked in Ivan Toney’s case it’s similar to mine it’s a player who clearly had an issue 232 this person clearly has an issue why are you not helping this guy why are you throwing him to the walls why are you turning public opinion against him before we’ve even heard the true story so for me it doesn’t sit well

LW: Can I ask what what’s it like do you get regularly reminded of the rules when you are players and betting how does that work?

AT: Yeah once a season you have like a meeting where the FA coming and they go through all the rules and what you can and can’t bet on but unfortunately when you have a problem you don’t care about the rules you don’t think if you’re addicted to something whether it be drink whether it be gambling you don’t think about oh this might happen and for me I don’t mind the the sponsorship I don’t mind the gambling sponsorships I don’t mind all of that because at the end of the day it makes pays our wages it makes football what it is today but for me if somebody has an issue and somebody falls fail because of all the the advertising and the gambling that’s in football how can you ban them from eight months how can you stop them from even training with their club because the only thing that’s going to do is give them more time on their hands and force them to bet even more and go even more into a spiral why not rehabilitate him say listen you gotta spend the off-season four or five weeks you have to go to rehab you have to stay there for five weeks you have to rehabilitate and help the the young kid instead of killing them

LW: Sometimes as well I think with addiction right when when there are um there’s so much to lose actually that the blindness of the addiction stops you from even um feeling like that’s real and that’s an actual thing that’s happening I would if I were anyone in in power there speak to Ivan Toney and almost want to use him to speak to other players currently because when do you ever get to hear from a current player especially someone like Ivan Toney who’s got a huge England career ahead of him as well

AT: But do you think he’s going to do that now if he’s going to do anything for the FA constructive, no

LW: And and that’s where sometimes I think the the comparison of punishments within football is is incredibly warped um I think as well people forget because we look at you guys and your footballers and you’re on our screens we forget how old you are and we forget how influential you can be as well because look there’s footballers that I’ve spoken into in the past who who I know get taken out of education very early right so you’re isolated and you don’t have that kind of you don’t have that chance to make your mistakes at school to socialize as well to really develop certain personality personality traits and social traits and you’re put into this environment when you’re really cut off from everything else and it can be quite lonely and what happens you get on your phone the the door is open you’ve got money to to spend and like you say you don’t know the value of money anymore because you’ve been giving so much money so it’s almost like you’re putting a kid into a toy shop and and there’s no one around what do you expect that kid to do I just think I think you’re right I think in this kind of situation where there is somebody that genuinely needs help help help him because from what I can hear now from Ivan Toney he feels incredibly let down by the system Deano so he’s not going to want to help well

DS: From a football point of view you couldn’t have happened for a worse time really for him because he’s at the top of his game he’s a brilliant player he’s just about to get a big move I think somewhere he was going to get in the England team so that some people will look at it um well you’re stupid betting when you know the rules you know you’re not allowed to bet some people look at it like that you deserve the punishment and then other people like what Andros has just said he can’t help himself he can’t help himself having a bet

AT: I think in my situation I would have accepted the punishment because I broke the rules the punishment is fine but it’s the rest of it it’s the leak and it’s the turn in public opinion against him it’s them he can’t train for eight months with his football team that’s not going to help the player that for me that’s the issue it’s not the punishment is the punishment

LW: And actually you’re right he’s he said look I completely accept that punishment and that okay fine um but you’re right it’s almost like well you’re now taking something else away from him which is his livelihood and his potential to really develop into into a different kind of a player a better player with the right people around him um I also think in this sort of situation look I understand that there are um different punishments different ways of treating something but but there are also real nuanced issues in these kind of things and I think they have to be handled really well and really respectably as well

DS: What they should do with them they should take him around every say to him I’m going to take you around every single Club gonna get all the playing stuff in the room because I guarantee you some young players in there are addicted I’m putting bets on and he should tell him how much money he’s lost tell them this is how much money I’ve lost no yeah so..

AT: The gambling culture is so bad now in football yeah they definitely need

LW: They were one they want to say as well this punishment is to serve as a um what’s the word as an example what can happen like we’re making an example of you so that young players will look at you and go oh my goodness they can’t even train I’m going to stop it but sometimes when something has you an addiction has you that’s not what’s going to stop you like someone maybe like Ivan Toney coming in and relating to them on a level where it’s not someone from a from a charity or from a company that you don’t you’re not going to relate to at all it’s Ivan Toney he’s walking in and going look I literally was in your shoes would that help I don’t know I think it’s a huge conversation I think that the role of of gambling the role of sponsorship and advertising and things like that and how we treat not just footballers but people with addiction is a huge conversation more than we can have now

DS: One quickly John Hartson who had cancer testicular cancer and he had six tumors taken out of his brain said to me the cancer wasn’t going to kill me it was a gambling if I hadn’t had done something about my gambling it was going to kill me I lost all my money

Problems with gambling can harm your health and relationships, and leave you in serious debt.

If your gambling is causing problems for you or your loved ones and you’d like to stop, support and treatment is available.

Are you having problems with gambling?

Try this questionnaire:

Do you bet more than you can afford to lose?

Do you need to gamble with larger amounts of money to get the same feeling?

Have you tried to win back money you have lost (chasing losses)?

Have you borrowed money or sold anything to get money to gamble?

Have you wondered whether you have a problem with gambling?

Has your gambling caused you any health problems, including feelings of stress or anxiety?

Have other people criticised your betting or told you that you had a problem with gambling (regardless of whether or not you thought it was true)?

Has your gambling caused any financial problems for you or your household?

Have you ever felt guilty about the way you gamble or what happens when you gamble?

Score 0 for each time you answer “never”
Score 1 for each time you answer “sometimes”
Score 2 for each time you answer “most of the time”
Score 3 for each time you answer “almost always”

If your total score is 8 or higher, your gambling might be causing problems for you or those closest to you.

Problem Gambling Signs

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