‘Concerned’ - Ivan Toney lawyer who completed Newcastle United takeover breaks silence on Brentford star’s ban

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Nick De Marco represented Ivan Toney during the case after previously working on pushing through the Newcastle United takeover that was completed in 2021.

Revered sports lawyer Nick De Marco has criticised a ‘huge contradiction’ that exists in football following his work representing brentford-condemn-racist-abuse-sent-to-ivan-toney-after-arsenal-game-4024065">Ivan Toney in the recent betting scandal case.

The Brentford striker was suspended from football-related activity for eight months in May and fined £50,000 for breaking FA betting rules over a four-year period.

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Toney admitted 232 FA rule breaches between February 2017 and January 2021 while he played at Newcastle United, Barnsley, Shrewsbury Town, Scunthorpe United and Wigan Athletic.

The FA said: “There were 13 bets on Mr Toney’s own team to lose in seven different matches between 22 August 2017 and 3 March 2018. Mr Toney did not play in any of those matches where he placed bets against his loan club as he was not in the match squad or against his parent club as he was on loan.

“Of the 13 bets 11 were against Newcastle whilst Mr Toney was on loan at another club. The other two bets related to a game between Wigan v Aston Villa whilst the player was on loan at Wigan but he was not part of the squad. A further 15 of the 126 bets or instructions to bet were placed by Mr Toney to score in 9 different matches all of which he played in.”

The FA was to initially ban Toney for 15 months for attempting to conceal his betting, knowing it was against FA rules and giving ‘clearly false answers’ in interviews over the matter.

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Ivan Toney’s legal representative sympathised with the Brentford striker (Image: Getty Images)Ivan Toney’s legal representative sympathised with the Brentford striker (Image: Getty Images)
Ivan Toney’s legal representative sympathised with the Brentford striker (Image: Getty Images)

However, his ban was reduced to 11 months when he pleaded guilty and then to eight months when he was diagnosed with addiction. Today, his representative Mr De Marco stood by the FA decision but took to Twitter to question a sport that promotes a ‘betting environment’ but also punishes players for doing so.

The lawyer said: “It was my privilege to represent Ivan Toney in the recent FA betting case. Ivan is a great homegrown player who I’m sure will continue to have the most incredible future, he’s also a really nice guy.

“I continue to be concerned about the huge contradiction in football - with gambling companies being the biggest sponsors of the sport, players required to advertise betting on football, despite widespread evidence of gambling addiction in society, and yet The FA’s focus is on punishing players, who have often not been given good education about betting rules, & grow up in a betting environment, and who often end up being punished for bets made many many years ago.

“The rules are of course the rules, and I make no criticism of the careful and considered decision of the Commission in the Toney case, which rejected the FA’s request to ban Ivan for far far longer, but I do think we need to look more widely at the role of betting in football, the nature of the rules, & education & assistance for players.”

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Mr De Marco famously represented Newcastle United during their legal battle to push through 2021’s infamous Saudi Public Investment Fund deal when buying the club from Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley.

In a statement shared after the FA ruling on the Ivan Toney case, Brentford confirmed their support for their talisman. The club said: “The club will now be doing everything possible to provide support to Ivan and his family to deal with the issues raised in this case. We consider this matter closed and look forward to welcoming Ivan back to training in September.”

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