Ex-Arsenal player Merson calls betting bans on Toney and Tonali a ‘disgrace’

Ex-Arsenal player Merson calls betting bans on Toney and Tonali a ‘disgrace’

Former Arsenal player Paul Merson has disagreed with the bans handed to Brentford forward Ivan Toney and Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali, calling it a “disgrace”.

Toney received an eight-month ban for breaching FA betting rules. He has served the ban completely and returned to action on the pitch while Tonali is currently serving a 10-month for betting on matches while he was playing for AC Milan.

Merson, speaking on the BBC’s Sacked in the Morning podcast, said he was a compulsive gambler during his playing days and stressed that gambling is a hidden addiction that is hard for others to spot.

“People have no respect for the gambling addiction,” Merson said.

“We’ve seen that with the bans of Sandro Tonali at Newcastle and Ivan Toney at Brentford.

“To give people 10-month bans for an addiction that is ravaging football, with sponsorships all over the shirts… They needed help and I don’t think ‘help’ is giving them 10-month bans.

“We underestimate this addiction. We need to show it some respect and not, ‘oh, show a bit of willpower’. I would say to the people who make these rules up and ban people, ‘next time you get diarrhoea, try and stop that with willpower’.”

Toney has featured 10 times in the Premier League since returning from his ban, scoring four goals.

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