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Brentford boss Thomas Frank opens up on Ivan Toney’s gambling charges and potential ban

Brentford boss Thomas Frank has caused a stir with social media users as he opens up on Ivan Toney’s gambling charges and the potential ban.

The Football Association has been alerted by the Danish manager of just how much of a problem gambling in football is. This warning comes ahead of Ivan Toney’s suspension for betting violations.

Frank acknowledges how difficult it is to accept Toney’s alleged violations being addressed, even as he continues to be sent horrific racist abuse almost daily on social media.

And whilst all this is happening off the field, Toney has been praised by Frank for how he powers through, doesn’t let it affect his form, how he remains focused, and has now earned himself a place in the England squad for upcoming games against Italy and Ukraine.

At the start of this year, Toney, 27, faced multiple charges of violating FA gambling rules. The footballer was charged by the FA with 232 alleged infractions of betting regulations; an additional 30 were added the following month.

Toney was playing in the EFL, sponsored and sponsored by Sky Bet, when most of the violations Toney was charged with occurred.

He also wears a kit which advertises “Hollywood Bet” every week in Premier League.

Frank acknowledges the conflicting messages this sends – and in an ideal world would rather have less money than the betting company on the Bees’ kits.

Brentford are reportedly looking for a new shirt sponsor to replace South African betting company ‘Hollywood Bets’ with the Premier League set to back a government call for a ban on gambling firms on the front of football tops.

The club’s owner, Matthew Benham, is also the founder and owner of Smartodds (a statistical research company for professional gamblers).

 It becomes increasingly clear that Toney’s case involves more than just his gaming habits; it also pertains to details surrounding his accumulators.

“Perhaps if I reflect on what would be a perfect world, would I rather have less money and not have betting on the front of our shirts even if it means we don’t have as good players? Maybe,” Frank says, as per the Daily Mail.

“It is ultimately about results and money and you can never be perfect but you have to have the intention to have the right values and do the right thing.

“When Ivan runs out with the name of our sponsor on his shirt, it sends mixed signals to everyone that football allows betting companies. There should be some rules from the Government to prevent that. There is better gambling awareness now and safe gambling but there is much to be done.

“Then look at the other side: Ivan scores and he goes on Instagram and the abuse he gets is utterly horrific. He is on the receiving end of more malicious intent than he has given out and yet he will be the guy who takes the hit. That is unbelievably hard.

“I would like to think this debate will save other players for the future. The rules are right but have players got the right education? Are we all clear about what is permitted and what is not permitted?

“I thought about these rules and then I thought, ‘I know that I can’t bet but what about my son?’ I wasn’t sure. Is he allowed to bet? I see myself as a fairly well-educated person and I didn’t know so I made sure I got the information.

“I am not criticising the FA for this. The FA came to the club before the start of the season and gave a talk about some of these issues. But the players need more education than that about the rules and as a club, we accept that we have a responsibility to provide that.

“It’s unbelievably hard that it looks as if Ivan is going to get punished for this but that he has to put up with racist abuse every day.

‘I understand that they are two separate things and that being racially abused is not mitigation for gambling but it still feels like a confused message. It is hard when it feels as if Ivan is going to be punished more severely for what he is alleged to have done than people who are abusing him.

“I am not talking about serious crimes here, obviously, but what do you do when people step over the line in society for more minor misdemeanours? You get them some education or you get a suspended sentence.

“If you do it again, then boom, it should be punished. You should not put a player in football prison for what he has done. It is about educating people.

“If you ban Ivan from football for six months, that is the football equivalent of putting him in prison for six months. This is what he is having to face. The level of education that we get — all of us — around the gambling rules is not the same as the education that is given about racial abuse.

“Ivan was in hotels, he was on loan, he had nine different clubs in eight years before arriving at Brentford, he is a young man and he has all this influence going on around him from gambling and yet we will not pay any attention to that, we will just look at the offence itself.

“It is hard for players when the advertising for betting companies is all around them at stadiums and on our shirts and the shirts of other clubs and we are saying ‘ignore the advertising’.”

Brentford’s director of football, Phil Giles, also brings up importance of education in tackling football’s problems with gambling.

“We acknowledge we do have an association with betting, with current and past sponsorships,’ he says.

“And maybe we have underestimated that there is an influence in the relationship that is contrary to what the players and staff are allowed to do. That doesn’t change the fact it is hard for us and for Ivan when we hear talk of him getting a long ban.

“There is no suggestion of match-fixing in the charges against him. No malicious intent. He was not out to cheat in any way. Is he the sort of person who has malicious intent? No. Nobody in football should be allowed to bet on football but if you talk about the punishment, it should be in the framework of the intent.”

Gareth Southgate expected some backlash for calling up Toney despite the player’s gambling offences, which came just before the England boss named his World Cup squad in 2022.

“Since the news came out, his form has been remarkable,’ Frank went on. ‘I have met very few players with such a strong mindset and that applies to the way he deals with the amount of racial abuse he suffers.

“He takes a lot and he overcomes it and keeps going and gets even better and even stronger. You see one guy with a big personality and a big presence but if you follow him around and see how loved he is by the staff members and his team-mates, it’s remarkable.

“His emotional intelligence is one of the biggest I have ever seen. He is so good at reading people in the right way and that is everything from the youngest player in the squad to the most experienced player in the squad. He is not too big to speak to anyone. It says a lot about him as a person.

“I am convinced he will come back stronger if he is banned but it will be painful. He is resilient and he has a good network of friends and family around him but it won’t be easy for him.

“You take away from him what he loves the most: to play football. Sometimes, that is a fair thing to do. In this case, I think it’s too high a price to pay.”

Social media users gave their reaction as Brentford boss Thomas Frank opens up on Ivan Toney’s gambling charges and potential ban…

@CiaranG09: Obviously racism is disgusting and should not be tolerated anywhere in sport or life but I can’t help but feel Thomas Frank is making a completely invalid point trying to excuse something that Toney has done and deserves to be punished for like anyone else ?

@g2mcc: The two things aren’t related. He knew he wasn’t allowed to bet.

@laplfc: I’m pretty sure it wasn’t racism that made Toney put on 262 bet though.

@TomOsmond23: What’s racism got to do with the fact he broke betting rules 😂😂

@LythyNo2: What’s the charge got to do with racism ? Tony Kay was banned for life for allegedly doing what Toney is bang to rights for. Players lost their livelihood for this alleged offence. Where’s the reporting on the true impact of this alleged misdemeanour ?

@dingdinghopkin: The racism he gets is awful and anyone doing it is nothing more than a knuckle dragging prick. That has nothing to do with what he’s done though and trying to use it as a way to help him get away with this, is disgusting and belittles what he has gone through

@lukepalms15: Ahhhhh the old racism card 🤦🏼‍♂️ completely irrelevant to this situation.

A black man robs a bank:
Judge: I sentence you to 4 years in prison for this crime.
Defender: Uhm, excuse me Sir. My client went through racial abuse, he should not be sentence for this crime.

@DazNUFC21: Two wrongs don’t make a right

@redarmypmk: What’s racism got to do with his betting violations. He is just crying for the sake of it and trying to defend him publicly

@nicky_j1989: What has one thing got to do with the other? Bizarre logic

@Sandhurstwolf: Weird argument

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