Betting probe revelations
With little over a month before the FIFA World Cup 2022 kicks off in Qatar, revelations in the UK press that the FA is conducting a betting investigation into England squad hopeful Ivan Toney has reportedly “devastated” the Brentford FC striker.
probe has been going on for seven months
A Daily Mail exclusive on Saturday revealed the probe has been going on for seven months. On Sunday, Toney’s English Premier League club Brentford took to Twitter to issue a statement:
The London team said it had noted the “story concerning Ivan Toney and the FA investigation” but would not be commenting. Similarly, the FA is also staying tight-lipped on the issue, but according to the Daily Mirror, Toney will “still be available for selection for club and country” while the investigation continues.
As reported by the Mail, the 26-year-old is supposedly “devastated” by news of the investigation leaking out. The alleged gambling activity occurred while Toney played in the lower leagues of English soccer. In the past, confirmed betting offenses have resulted in financial penalties, suspensions, or even lifetime bans.
Media swarm over Bees player
According to the Mail, reports suggest there’s no suggestion that Toney ever bet on his own team to lose in the supposed gambling activity.
he is aware of the newspaper stories
The UK media is, however, arguably the world’s most relentless in its exposé of England players, managers, and even their wives before and during major world tournaments. Toney was quick to release a statement on Sunday via Twitter confirming that he is aware of the newspaper stories:
Southgate hasn’t overlooked Toney’s scintillating form for Brentford — eight goals in 13 games — with the England manager rumored to have included him in his preliminary 55-man squad late last month. He will announce the official 26-man squad on Thursday, according to media reports. Other than England squad definite Harry Kane (11 goals this season), Toney is the most in-form English striker this season.
Also in the striker picture for Qatar are Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson (six league goals), Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford (four), Roma’s Tammy Abraham (two), and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin (one).
Shades of Paulo Rossi?
If Toney makes Southgate’s final squad of 26, could the betting scandal inspire him to help England lift the Jules Rimet trophy like Paulo Rossi did for Italy in 1982?
Rossi came into the 1982 World Cup on the back of a match-fixing scandal and ended up the Golden Boot winner with six goals.