Now, his club manager, Thomas Frank, stepped in to offer further details about the player and why he thought the way Toney’s case was handed sent “mixed signals.” Speaking to The Daily Mail, Frank argued that Toney has had a very difficult time dealing with racial abuse on a daily basis.
While Frank said he understood that being the victim of racial abuse is no excuse for breaking gambling rules, it still felt strange and conflicted. Frank added that he personally felt that Toney would receive a far stiffer punishment than the people who have been abusing him.
Frank’s remarks are not random either. He was referencing Antonio Neill, the first person to be banned from all soccer stadiums in the United Kingdom, following reports that he had been abusing Toney on social media. Toney’s violations though have to do with gambling as part of professional soccer.
He is now facing 262 instances of gambling violations and while the details of this are unclear and mostly kept for the Football Association’s own perusal, Toney is to blame for breaching the rules. This is put plainly in the association’s code of conduct which outright forbids players from participating in gambling of any sort when it comes to soccer.
It doesn’t matter what soccer game this may be and in what country it is played. The association has a clause that specifically prohibits this behavior. Frank believes that in order for players to better understand that they should not mix betting with the sport, the relationship between betting companies and sports teams would need to be reevaluated.
His remarks come at a time when a White Paper on the re-regulation of gambling laws in the United Kingdom is expected to arrive “before long.” Frank is adamant that the rules need to be tougher as when Toney walks out on the pitch, he has the Hollywood Bets logo emblazoned on his chest. This, Frank explained, sent the kind of mixed signals that the government would do well to swiftly address.
In the meantime, Toney has not been given a fair chance to defend himself or at least anticipate the fallout. Media reports have surfaced of his supposed suspension before a final ruling by the association had been reached – something he criticized. Toney is expected to receive at least six months of suspension, something Frank described as a “prison sentence” for the player.