Harry Toffolo’s deteriorating mental health and belief that his football career was on the decline were a “very significant mitigation” for breaching FA betting rules, according to an independent regulatory committee.
The Nottingham Forest defender has been handed a five-month suspended ban after admitting 375 breaches of betting rules, having placed a historic 40 bets involving his team – 15 of which were against his team.
There were also two instant bets placed by the player on events relating to him, which occurred between January 2014 and March 2017.
The written reasons for the report, published on Friday, also revealed that Toffolo began betting after suffering “double disappointment” when he was told he did not feature in then-manager Chris Hughton’s plans at Norwich City and would not be allowed to leave the club on loan. .
During this period, the report said, Toffolo suffered from mental health problems and became “addicted to gambling.”
At the time, Toffolo was contracted to Norwich and played on loan with Swindon, Rotherham, Peterborough and Scunthorpe.
The report also said Toffolo used betting “partly to alleviate his bad mood,” but mainly to “get along” with his teammates, who were said to “gamble regularly and successfully.”
The panel accepted that “there appears to be a link” between Toffolo’s mental health condition and his gambling, and noted that when he joined Scunthorpe in August 2016, he “thrived much better”, with his family also making the move.
The frequency of gambling decreased dramatically and eventually stopped completely.
Based on the evidence, the panel concluded that the bets Toffolo placed during the relevant periods “were a result, at least in large part, of the significant mental health challenges” he endured during those periods.
The 28-year-old’s ban has been suspended until the end of the 2024-25 season, allowing Forest to name the full-back in their 25-man Premier League squad.
Forrest declined to comment on the sanctions imposed on Toffolo.
Manager Steve Cooper was among those who gave evidence to the committee, describing the defender as a “true professional” and a family man who has had a positive impact on the dressing room and in the wider community.