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03 October 2023

Missing World Cup a bigger blow than ban, says Toney

By Reuters

Ivan Toney said being unable to represent England at last year's World Cup was a heavier punishment than the lengthy ban he is serving for breaching Football Association (FA) betting rules.

The 27-year-old Brentford striker, who finished the season as the third-highest scorer in the Premier League, was handed an eight-month ban and fined 50,000 pounds ($62,850) after admitting to 232 breaches of the rules, which included betting on matches he played in.

Toney was charged by the FA last November and missed out on a place in the England squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

" ... even though I miss eight months of football, that was the biggest punishment, to miss out on a World Cup - everyone's dream - it is bigger than missing eight months of football," Toney told Kick Game YouTube channel.

The FA's independent regulatory commission said the sanction had been reduced to eight months from 11 due to his young age and gambling addiction.

Toney, who has been capped once for England, cannot play for club or country until Jan. 16, 2024 but can return to training for the final four months of his suspension starting from Sept. 17.

"The support is good, but how I am, I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me," he added.

"I done what I done before, the punishment is the punishment and get on with it. Like I said I just have to focus on when I come back training. I want to be a different animal when I come back. It's going to be frightening."

($1 = 0.7955 pounds)