Newcastle confirm Sandro Tonali is under investigation by prosecutors amid illegal gambling allegations… and the FA say the Italian is FREE to face Crystal Palace on Saturday
- Sandro Tonali is being investigated in Italy amid allegations of illegal gambling
- Newcastle confirmed the news and outlined their full support for the midfielder
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
Newcastle have confirmed that Sandro Tonali is being investigated by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) amid allegations of illegal gambling.
Newcastle’s summer signing is one of three players that have been named in the investigation that is being undertaken by prosecutors, alongside Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo and Nicolo Fagioli of Juventus – who has since been banned for seven months.
Tonali – who moved to the Magpies for £52million in the summer – could face a year-long ban after reportedly admitting to betting on matches involving his former club AC Milan.
In a statement Newcastle said: ‘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.
Newcastle have confirmed that Sandro Tonali is being investigated by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) amid allegations of illegal gambling
Tonali – who joined Newcastle from AC Milan in the summer – could be facing a hefty ban
‘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.’
The FA say Tonali is still free to play for Newcastle on Saturday against Crystal Palace but they will wait for outcome of the Italian investigation before commenting further.
If Tonali has a gambling addiction – as his agent confirmed on Tuesday – there is the possibility he has placed bets under their jurisdiction.
His availability for this weekend’s game at St James’ Park means Tonali faces the prospect of playing in front of pitch side hoardings which advertise gambling, even though he is allegedly fighting an addiction.
Newcastle also currently have partnerships with three online betting firms – Fun88, Sportsbet.io and BetMGM.
With regards to the investigation, Fagioli became the first player to speak directly to prosecutors after news broke last week, and on Tuesday, the 22-year-old was handed a seven-month ban from football.
The player’s ban is a significant reduction from the usual minimum sanction of three years after he admitted his guilt and confessed to a gambling addiction.
Italian laws around betting ban athletes from placing bets on the sports in which they compete.
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The FA say Tonali is still free to play for Newcastle on Saturday against Crystal Palace
But as per Gazetta dello Sport, Tonali could face a longer ban than Fagioli after it emerged that he had reportedly placed bets on his former side AC Milan – which could constitute an act of sporting misconduct under the country’s Sports Justice Code.
However, reports claim that he only bet on the Rossoneri to win matches when he wasn’t involved in the matchday squad.
The midfielder is now believed to have met with prosecutor Giuseppe Chine – who spoke with Fagioli over the weekend – twice, with the second meeting taking place on Tuesday.
Whilst Tonali’s move to Newcastle would mean that had the player placed bets on Milan, he would be in no way personally involved in the outcome, it is thought that if the player did gamble on the Rossoneri, this could be considered an aggravating factor to possibly increase his sanction.
By co-operating, Tonali could see any potential ban halved under a plea agreement, but matters could be complicated if there are any discrepancies between what Tonali has told prosecutors and anything found on the player’s phones or devices.
Zaniolo, Tonali, and Fagioli had their electronics confiscated on Thursday as part of the investigation, which also saw the Italian national team’s training camp raided by the authorities as they sought to interview Zaniolo and Tonali.
Italy head coach Luciano Spalletti called the raid ‘traumatic’ and described his players as ‘absolutely distraught’ by the investigation.
Along with a potential sanction, Tonali might also expect additional prescribed measures, as have been handed to Fagioli, including therapy for a gambling addiction, and meetings with young players to discuss the consequences of illegal betting in football.
Nicolo Zaniolo is also under investigation by Italian authorities and the Aston Villa star could play on the weekend with a shirt featuring the logo of gambling firm BK8
Nicolo Fagioli received a seven-month ban after he admitted guilt and a gambling addiction
After meeting with prosecutors over alleged sporting offences, Tonali is then thought to have spoken to criminal prosecutor Manuela Pedrotta, who is spearheading an investigation into a betting ring on illegal online platforms.
Tonali is believed to have cooperated fully with the parallel investigation.
Zaniolo, who joined Aston Villa on loan from Galatasaray during the summer’s transfer window, is not thought to be seeking a plea bargain, and will instead be looking for a full acquittal.
The former Roma player is said to be adamant that he only placed bets on online poker and blackjack games – which is not in contravention of the Sports Justice Code.
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