Nottingham Forest: Harry Toffolo ban suspended for “clear and compelling” reasons, says commission

There were “clear and compelling” reasons to suspend Harry Toffolo’s ban from playing football, according to an independent regulatory commission.

The Nottingham Forest defender, 28, has been given a suspended five-month ban by the Football Association for 375 breaches of betting rules.

The ban is suspended until the end of 2024-25. He was also fined £20,956.

FA guidelines state there should be a sporting sanction but “substantial mitigation” meant a reduced punishment.

Toffolo placed 375 bets on football matches 22 January 2014 and 18 March 2017.

During that period, the independent commission to decide Toffolo’s punishment were told that “for a number of reasons, his mental health was at a very low ebb”.’

Toffolo given ban after admitting 375 betting breaches | LiveScore

In its written reasons explaining its sanction, the commission said it accepted that the bets “were the result, at least in large part, of the significant mental health challenges” faced by Toffolo at the time.

Toffolo showed “genuine remorse” over placing the bets and has offered to help the FA in its education strategy, to prevent other players from gambling and assist young players to address mental health issues, an offer which the commission expects Toffolo “to make good on”.

The commission added that it would have imposed a 10-month ban but for the mitigating circumstances.

Toffolo placed 15 bets against his own team at the time, the majority of which were accumulators. He also placed two 25p bets on himself to score in the League One play-off final in 2015, which his Swindon team lost 4-0 against Preston.

Toffolo claimed he was not aware he was prohibited from betting on football until he joined Lincoln City from Millwall in June 2018, but the commission said “ignorance of the rule” is not a mitigating factor.

In May, Brentford and England striker Ivan Toney was given an eight-month ban and fined £50,000 after accepting 232 betting breaches.

His ban had been reduced from 11 months as the 27-year-old was diagnosed with a gambling addiction.

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