News broke on Tuesday evening that the most-bought Fantasy Premier League (FPL) asset of Gameweek 26, Ivan Toney (£7.6m), has reportedly admitted breaching betting rules.
Toney’s stock was about to rise further in FPL, with Leicester City’s elimination from the FA Cup meaning that Brentford avoid a ‘blank’ in Gameweek 28.
The Bees also have Double Gameweeks to come on either side of that clash with the Foxes:
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES?
The striker has been charged over 262 alleged breaches of the Football Association’s (FA) betting rules.
A total of 232 of them had been put to the England international in November 2022, with a further 30 arriving the next month.
The offences were alleged to have occurred between February 2017 and January 2021.
WHAT HAS TONEY ADMITTED TO?
The Daily Mail has been on top of this story since it was first reported in November, and it was their reporter Matt Hughes who brought us the latest developments on Tuesday evening.
Hughes reports that Toney is “understood to have admitted many of the charges in his response to the FA but is contesting others”.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Sky Sports reports that the FA will now “go through [Toney’s] response before issuing a hearing date”.
An Independent Regulatory Commission will then deliver a verdict on the charges and issue a punishment if deemed necessary (and as seems likely).
HOW LONG COULD TONEY’S BAN BE?
Most outlets covering the story agree on the likelihood of a “lengthy ban”, with Sky Sports News anticipating that Toney could be suspended for “at least six months”.
WHEN WOULD THE BAN START?
Notice above we said “months” and not “games” – so it’ll be in the interests of Brentford for some of that purported ban to cover the off-season (May 29-August 11) in order to minimise the impact of his absence from the team.
Most newspapers concur that Toney has admitted some of the charges, that a lengthy ban is expected and that the suspension will kick in before the end of 2022/23.
But exactly when the ban will start is the million-dollar question for FPL managers and one we don’t yet have an answer to.
The Daily Mail reports that an FA disciplinary hearing is “imminent” but Sky Sports suggest that “it could take the FA several weeks to digest Toney’s response, which means a hearing is most likely to take place in April”.
One of their reporters repeated that April estimate on Wednesday.
If Sky Sports are correct and he’s free to play until April at the earliest, Toney will be eligible for Gameweeks 26-28.
Brentford’s Double Gameweek 29 fixtures take place on April 1+5, however.
Kieran Trippier and Joey Barton are two of the more high-profile examples of recent years where a player has fallen foul of the FA’s betting rules.
|Player||Club (at the time)||Charge||Punishment||Date of charge||Date of acceptance of charge||Date of ban starting|
|Ivan Toney||Brentford||262 breaches of FA’s betting rules (exact details unknown)||?||November 16, 2022 + December 20, 2022||February 28, 2022 (reported on this date)||?|
|Andi Thanoj||Boston United||Placed 319 bets on football matches between 2014 and 2020||Five-month ban||August 2020||n/a||October 4, 2021|
|Jay Rollins||Boston United||Placed 438 bets on football matches between 2015 and 2020||One-month ban||August 2020||n/a||October 4, 2021|
|Kieran Trippier||Atletico Madrid||Passed on information about his transfer to Atletico to a friend, who subsequently bet on the move||10-week ban||May 1, 2020||Denied all charges||December 23, 2020|
|Joey Barton||Rangers/Burnley||Placed 1,260 bets on football matches between 2006 and 2013||18-month ban, reduced to 13 on appeal||December 23, 2016||February 3, 2017||April 26, 2017|
While Barton’s offences were deemed of a more serious nature (he bet on his own team to lose on a handful of occasions), he seems to have been on a similar timeline (December-February-April) as Toney.
WHEN WILL WE HEAR FROM THOMAS FRANK?
Brentford are in Gameweek 26 action on Monday night against fellow west Londoners Fulham, so head coach Thomas Frank should be facing the media as normal on Friday afternoon.
He’s unlikely to shed much light on the Toney case, however, with it being an active investigation.
WHO WILL TAKE TONEY’S PLACE?
We’ll have more Brentford coverage to come in the coming days but in the event of any Toney suspension, Yoane Wissa (£5.3m) could be the big winner with regards to game-time.
Thomas Frank scholars will know that tactically, he tends to use a 3-5-2 in matches against the so-called ‘bigger’ clubs and a 4-3-3 in the easier-on-paper fixtures.
Wissa is usually the fall guy when there is a change to a wing-back system, with Toney and Bryan Mbeumo (£5.8m) lining up no matter what the shape.
Keane Lewis-Potter (£5.2m), Kevin Schade (£4.9m) and Mikkel Damsgaard (£5.0m) could in turn get a look-in alongside Mbeumo and Wissa, in matches where a front three is used.
Mbeumo, of course, will stand to capitalise on penalty-taking duties if and when Toney is banned.