EPL

Thomas Frank questions decision to stop Ivan Toney training for half of his ban

By Sports Desk May 26, 2023

Thomas Frank admitted Ivan Toney made mistakes but questioned the Football Association’s decision to ban him from training for four months as part of his suspension for betting rule breaches.

Toney pleaded guilty to 232 breaches of the FA’s betting rules and has been banned from football for eight months and is not allowed to train with Brentford until half of the term has been served on September 17.

Frank jumped to Toney’s side as Brentford adjust to being without their 20-goal striker for the first half of the 2023-24 campaign.

The Brentford boss said: “Yes, Ivan did something wrong but what I don’t get at all is how can you not let him be involved in football at all for the first four months?

“What do you gain from that? If you want to rehabilitate people you give them education, you do something, and now he is left on his own.

“There’s no doubt for me that the first four months he could be involved in football, he should be forced to go into a hundred schools to tell them about his football and background, that’s how it should work, but I’m a football coach, what do I know?

“If I can’t speak to him, then they will have to ban me. If I am not allowed to speak to him on a support level there must be something wrong. I think you’re allowed to contact people even when they’re in prison aren’t you? So I think I’m allowed.”

Toney’s ban was reduced by the independent regulatory commission after he was diagnosed with a gambling addiction by a psychiatry expert.

In March Brentford were reported to be considering cutting ties with Hollywood Bets who have been their main kit sponsor since July 2021.

And Frank discussed the link between football and gambling sponsors and called for better ways to support players.

“I think it’s definitely something we need to look into,” Frank added.

“The cleaner the football industry could be, the better.

“Ivan has made some mistakes, now we need to get through that and we will support him. But there is no doubt that football and gambling’s relationship need to be reviewed and I think we can only look at ourselves first.

“We got a massive reminder (Toney ban), do we do enough to educate our players? I think that’s a big thing, I think the football authorities have a massive task to make sure we do this much better.”

Brentford host treble-chasing Manchester City at the Gtech Community Stadium on Sunday where a win depending on other results could see them qualify for the Europa Conference League – the Bees are ninth and trail seventh-placed Aston Villa by two points.

“I believe that anything can happen in football,” Frank said.

“I had a big belief before the season that we’ll do top 10, of course I didn’t know (that Brentford would be contending for Europe) but I am so pleased we are in the mix and have a chance. But we just need to beat the best team in the world.”

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