Newcastle issue statement on Sandro Tonali gambling investigation

The Italian midfielder has been accused of illegal betting on football

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Correspondent
Wednesday 18 October 2023 16:08 BST
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(AFP via Getty Images)

Sandro Tonali is being investigated by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and the Italian Football Federation after being accused of illegal betting on football.

The Newcastle midfielder, who is cooperating fully with the police and the Italian football authorities, faces the prospect of a lengthy ban if found guilty.

The 23-year-old, who was withdrawn from the Italy squad to face Malta and England after it became known he was the subject of an inquiry, reportedly pleaded guilty to betting on AC Milan matches at a hearing with the Italian Football Federation in Turin on Tuesday.

Tonali’s agent said the Italy international is battling a gambling addiction and revealed the player is shocked.

Guiseppe Riso said: “Sandro is playing an important game against gambling addiction. He will win this one too. I’d like to thank Newcastle who have always stood by Sandro. He is in shock, shaken and sad. I hope that this experience saves his life and that of many others, that it helps those who fall into the same habit as him.”

This week, Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagiolo was banned for 12 months, with five of them suspended, after he admitted breaching betting regulations while Aston Villa winger Nicolo Zaniolo is also being investigated and was also removed from the Italy squad as a result. Illegal betting on matches in Italy carries a maximum penalty of a three-year ban.

Newcastle are yet to confirm if Tonali remains available for selection. They face Crystal Palace on Saturday and then Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

Tonali became the most expensive Italian footballer in history when Newcastle bought him from AC Milan for £55m in the summer. He scored on his debut against Aston Villa and has made 10 appearances for Eddie Howe’s team.

Newcastle said in a club statement: “Newcastle United can confirm that Sandro Tonali is subject to investigation by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in relation to illegal betting activity.

“Sandro is fully engaging with the investigation and will continue to cooperate with all relevant authorities. He and his family will continue to receive the club’s full support.

“Due to this ongoing process, Sandro and Newcastle United are unable to offer further comment at this time.”

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