Frank baffled by decision to ban Toney from training for four months – ‘what do you gain from that?’

·3-min read
Brentford boss Thomas Frank looks pleased Credit: Alamy
Brentford boss Thomas Frank looks pleased Credit: Alamy

Thomas Frank admits Ivan Toney has made mistakes but he is baffled by the Football Association’s decision to ban him from training for four months.

Toney pleaded guilty to 232 breaches of the FA’s betting rules and he has now been banned from football and all football-related activity for eight months. He is not allowed to train with Brentford until he has served half of his ban.

Frank is adamant that Toney needs to be supported during his time on the sidelines.

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.

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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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