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The future of betting cases in football: What can we learn from Ivan Toney's case?

Football with money notes
Wednesday, 21 June 2023 By Alastair Campbell

The announcement in November 2022 that Ivan Toney had been charged with 232 breaches of The FA’s betting regulations (with a further 30 charges added in December 2022) prompted a wave of commentary amid the ongoing debate surrounding the relationship between football and gambling sponsors, the Premier League clubs’ decision to remove gambling sponsors from the front of shirts,1 and with the English Football League announcing a five-year extension to its partnership with SkyBet.2 Whilst some called for Toney to face a lengthy ban, others pointed out the potential irony in the fact that many of Toney’s clubs over the relevant period had been sponsored by betting companies.

However, until the Regulatory Commission, of The Football Association of England, written reasons were published on 23 May 2023, the nature of the bets placed by Mr Toney – the single most important factor in determining the appropriate sanction – was unknown.

This article first considers (by reference to Toney) the kind of evidence that can be collated by The FA in betting cases, before considering the nature of the bets placed by Mr Toney, reviewing what is revealed by the Regulatory Commission’s written reasons, and finally providing some commentary on Mr Toney’s sanction and the decision to allow him to return to training after four months.

The Regulatory Commission’s written reasons in Toney are available here.3 The Commission was made of three independent panel members: David Casement K.C. (Chairperson) – Independent Specialist Panel Member, Abdul Shaffaq Iqbal K.C. – Independent Legal Panel Member and Stuart Ripley – Independent Football Panel Member.

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Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell

Alastair is a sports lawyer and partner at Level.  He acts for clients in the sports sector across a broad range of issues, from contractual matters to questions of public law.  He also specialises in conduct, disciplinary and regulatory work, advising on non-contentious issues such as the drafting of regulations and procedures, as well as acting on contentious disciplinary matters (including cases related to betting and integrity).  He is experienced in advisory work and has extensive knowledge of regulatory structures in football. 

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