‘Even prisoners get contact’: Brentford manager Thomas Frank questions why he isn’t allowed to speak to Ivan Toney during the striker’s eight-month ban for betting
- Thomas Frank has questioned why he isn’t allowed to speak to Ivan Toney
- Frank feels he should be able to contact Toney during striker’s eight-month ban
- Brentford boss agrees with Gareth Southgate that Toney shouldn’t be isolated
Three and a half hours had passed since the FA released the document containing detailed reasons for Ivan Toney’s eight-month ban, and Thomas Frank was facing the media at Brentford’s training ground.
‘Oh, and I thought your first question was going to be, “What a season you’ve had, you’re still in the mix going into the last game, sneaking into Europe, unbelievable, how did you do it?” ’ smiled Frank.
He knew what was coming. And he tackled the inevitable Toney inquisition with his usual charm, refreshing honesty and humility.
‘I’m the head coach, not the club lawyer,’ he pointed out as he segued into the matter threatening to overshadow the club’s fine achievements on the pitch, even though most of Toney’s gambling offences date back to a time before he joined the Bees.
Frank, nevertheless, said it was ‘nice to know the full background’ and made intelligent contributions to the debate. He noted that Hollywood Bets, the club’s main shirt sponsors for the last two years, had their logo plastered around the room and on the clothing worn by staff.
Thomas Frank (L) has questioned why he isn’t allowed to contact banned striker Ivan Toney (R)
Frank says that even people who are in prison can be contacted so he should be allowed to speak to Toney
Brentford are a club owned by Matthew Benham, a multi-millionaire who made a fortune in the betting industry. It’s complicated.
‘There is definitely an issue out there that we need to work on,’ said Frank. ‘For me, in the perfect world, we don’t have gambling adverts. The cleaner the football industry can be, the better for the world. Education is key and the authorities have to look into that massively.’ Frank believes the FA could use Toney, Brentford’s top scorer and an England international, to lead the education by sending him into schools.
‘He is an example for all in the football world to learn from,’ he said. ‘There is no doubt that in the first four months, he should be forced to go to 100 schools telling them about his background and football and everything.’
The first four months is pertinent because Toney will not be allowed to train at the club for the first half of his ban. He can receive treatment for his hamstring injury but Frank believes this arm of the punishment is counter-productive.
Frank agrees with Gareth Southgate that Toney shouldn’t be isolated during his ban
England manager Gareth Southgate made a similar point earlier this week, that Toney should be embraced by his support network rather than cast into isolation.
‘Definitely, I am bang on with Gareth there, it was a fantastic point,’ said Frank. ‘How can you let him not be involved in football for the first four months. What do you gain from that? If you want to rehabilitate people, give them education. Now it is die or survive.’
Frank promised to keep in touch with Toney during his exile. ‘If I can’t speak to him, I guess they have to ban me as well,’ he said. ‘Because if I’m not allowed to speak with him on a support level, there must be something wrong. You are allowed to contact people who are in prison, so I guess I’m allowed.’
And with that he was off, turning his mind back to finding a way to stop Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday.
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