‘Even prisoners communicate’: Brentford manager Thomas Frank questions why he is not allowed to speak to Ivan Toney during striker’s eight-month betting ban
- Thomas Frank asks why he is not allowed to talk to Ivan Toney
- Frank felt he should have contacted Toney during the striker’s eight-month ban
- The Brentford boss agrees with Gareth Southgate that Toney should not be sidelined
Three-and-a-half hours have passed since the FA released the document detailing the reasons for Ivan Toney’s eight-month ban, and Thomas Frank has faced the media at Brentford’s training ground.
‘Oh, and I thought your first question was, “What a season you’ve had, you’re still in the mix for the last game, sneaked into Europe, unbelievable, how did you do it?” Frank said smiling.
He knew what was coming. And he faced Toney’s inevitable scrutiny with his usual charm, refreshing honesty and humility.
‘I am the head coach, not the club’s lawyer,’ he pointed out as he dealt with the matter which threatens to overshadow the club’s great achievements on the pitch, even though most of Toney’s gambling offenses date back to a period before he joins the Bees.
However, Frank said it was ‘nice to know the full background’ and make an intelligent contribution to the debate. He noted that Hollywood Bets, the club’s main shirt sponsor for the past two years, had their logo plastered around the room and on the staff’s uniforms.
Thomas Frank (L) questions why he is not allowed to contact banned striker Ivan Toney (R)
Frank says that even people in prison can be contacted so he should be allowed to talk to Toney
Brentford is a club owned by Matthew Benham, a multi-millionaire who made his fortune in the betting industry. It’s complicated.
‘There’s definitely an issue out there that we need to study,’ Frank said. ‘For me, in an ideal world, we wouldn’t have gambling ads. The cleaner the football industry, the better for the world. Education is key and the authorities need to take a hard look.’ Frank believes the FA could use Toney, Brentford’s leading scorer and an England international, to lead education by sending him to schools.
‘He is an example for everyone in the football world to learn from,’ he said. ‘There’s 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 are concerning as 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 part of the punishment is counterproductive.
Frank agrees with Gareth Southgate that Toney should not be sidelined 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 thrown into isolation.
‘Absolutely, I’m blasting Gareth there, it’s a fantastic point,’ said Frank. ‘How can you let him not be involved in football for the first four months. What will you gain from that? If you want to rehabilitate people, give them education. Now it’s live or die.’
Frank promises to keep in touch with Toney during his exile. ‘If I can’t talk to him, I think they’ll have to ban me too,’ he said. ‘Cause if I’m not allowed to talk to him on a support level, something must be wrong. You’re allowed to contact people in prison, so I guess I’m allowed.’
And with that he was off, turning his mind to finding a way to stop Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday.
News/Image Sources: Daily Mail