English Premier League striker Ivan Toney has been charged by the English Football Association with misconduct in relation to 232 alleged betting-rule violations. But there is no suggestion the striker ever bet against his own team or on a game he was involved in.
The FA said Wednesday the infractions occurred between February 25, 2017 and January 23, 2021. During that time, Toney played for Scunthorpe United, Wigan Athletic, Peterborough United, and Brentford.
Casino.org reported last week that the player was under investigation for alleged historical gambling on matches and that inquiries had been ongoing for several months.
Since 2014, FA rules have prohibited players from gambling on soccer games globally, as well as on any matter related to soccer, such as player transfers. Previously, they were simply prevented from betting on games in which they or their team was directly involved.
Misses World Cup
News of the investigation could not have come at a worse time for Toney, who had hoped to make the roster for England manager Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.
Southgate announced the squad last Thursday, just three days after the Toney story broke. The Brentford man was snubbed.
Many felt he had a strong shout for inclusion. The 26-year-old has scored ten EPL goals this season and has emerged over the past two seasons as a powerful center forward with a lethal finish.
Only England’s first-choice striker and captain, Harry Kane, and Manchester City’s Norwegian goal monster, Erling Haaland, have scored more. And they tend to get better service than the Brentford man.
Toney is also an impeccable penalty taker. Of the 26 penalties he has attempted in his professional career, he failed to score just once, in 2018, while playing for lower league Portsmouth.
This gives him a hit rate of just over 96%, higher than anyone else who made the England squad. That includes Kane (86%), who is known to strike a pretty sweet spot kick himself.
This could have been useful to England, a team that has a miserable history of getting knocked out of major international tournaments on penalty shootouts.
In 2020, “the Three Lions” lost in the final of the UEFA European Championship to Italy in a shootout. Had Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka buried those kicks, it would have been the national team’s first major international title since the 1966 World Cup.
Last week, Southgate claimed to The Daily Mirror that Toney’s exclusion had nothing to do with the gambling investigation.
“I’ve not had that conversation because he wasn’t in our squad,” Southgate said. “For us, September was a good opportunity to have a look at Ivan on the training pitch, to learn a bit more about him, for him to see how we work. We knew and had discussed with him it was a long shot to be involved at this time in a World Cup.”
Many English soccer fans feel differently.
Toney has until November 24 to respond to the FA misconduct charges. He faces a lengthy ban if they are proven.
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