Brentford's Toney vows to return after eight-month ban over betting breaches
Brentford striker Ivan Toney promised to return to "playing the game I love" after being banned from all football-related activity for eight months over breaches of betting rules.
Toney, charged by the Football Association in November with 262 alleged breaches over a four-year period, was suspended with "immediate effect" by the English governing body.
The 27-year-old England international was also fined £50,000 ($62,000).
"Ivan Toney has been suspended from all football and football-related activity with immediate effect for eight months, which runs up to and including 16 January 2024, fined £50,000 and warned as to his future conduct for breaches of The FA's betting rules," an FA statement said on Wednesday.
"The Brentford FC forward was charged with 262 breaches of FA Rule E8 in total between 25 February 2017 and 23 January 2021. The FA subsequently withdrew 30 of these breaches and he admitted to the remaining 232."
- 'Very difficult time' -
Toney, responding in a Twitter post, said he was "naturally disappointed" at being hit with an eight-month ban as he thanked family, friends, Brentford and the club's fans "for their continued support, through what has been a very difficult time".
He added: "I now focus on returning to play the game I love next season."
An independent regulatory commission imposed the sanctions on Toney, who will not be allowed to train with his Brentford team-mates until September 17.
He will miss Premier League Brentford's last two fixtures this season, at Tottenham on Saturday and against Manchester City on the final day of the campaign.
Toney, capped once by England, against Ukraine in March, has scored an impressive 21 goals in 35 appearances for west London side Brentford this season.
Although he featured in an England squad before last year's World Cup, Toney was left out of Gareth Southgate's final selection for the tournament in Qatar.
His goals have played a key role in his team's rise to ninth in the Premier League heading into the last two games of the campaign.
Toney said he would make no further comment until the written reasons for the commission's decision were published, echoing Brentford, who earlier on Wednesday explained they would wait until then before taking their "next steps".
Speaking in December, following the announcement of the FA's charges, Brentford boss Thomas Frank said while the club had recruitment plans, they had "no specific one for potentially replacing Ivan".
Toney is not the first high-profile player to be banned for offences related to betting.
England defender Kieran Trippier, now with Newcastle, was banned for 10 weeks and fined £70,000 by the FA in 2020 after giving out information for others to bet on his transfer from Tottenham to Atletico Madrid.
In 2017, Joey Barton was banned for 18 months, reduced to 13 on appeal, while playing for Burnley after admitting placing 1,260 football-related bets over a 10-year period.