BRENTFORD struck a secret deal with the FA to allow Ivan Toney to train at his club – while he was still banned from all football for betting offences.
SunSport’s exclusive video shows the £60million-rated England striker walking around a training pitch with a Bees coach on August 1 – SIX WEEKS before his return.
However, the club insists it has not broken any rules after receiving permission from the FA.
Brentford said: “Ivan Toney has been granted exemption by the Football Association to attend the club’s premises during his suspension from football-related activities for rehabilitation work after he sustained a hamstring injury which caused him to miss matches in May.”
Toney, 27, was banned for eight months after being found guilty of 232 betting offenses in May.
He was originally only allowed to resume training with the club on September 17th.
The striker practiced with a ball at the Bees’ training ground and was then filmed doing a solo fitness session with first-team conditioning coach Matt Bramhall.
Brentford added: “This rehabilitation work included one-to-one sessions with strength and conditioning coaches and medical staff, including a football, in line with Ivan’s recovery plan.
“There were no breaches of the FA sanctions, which were strictly adhered to by both the club and Ivan.”
Toney is now back training with the Bees and building up his fitness before his suspension ends on January 17.
The FA’s original ruling stated: “In view of the specific requirements that a player must meet in order to be fit again at the end of the suspension, the Commission has ordered that the player be allowed to play again from a point four months after the start of the suspension is allowed to train with his team. “Blocking period.”
Toney last month accused the FA of hypocrisy over its approach to mental health.
He said: “The whole football community puts a lot of emphasis on mental health and then the FA will do that and push me away.”
“What if someone who wasn’t as strong-minded as me went through this situation and was punished for not being allowed into the club – that would break them.
“It’s like being in football prison.”
Toney’s first game back will be an away game at Spurs on January 30.
But he may not be a Bees player by then, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all keen on him.
Toney has scored 32 Prem goals in the last two seasons, including 20 last season.
Boss Thomas Frank has admitted his star player could be sold.
Last week he said: “We are a selling club when the price is right, when it is the right time for the player to leave.”
“If they have developed well with us, followed the path and have now proven themselves good enough to go to the top clubs, then it is the right thing.”