October 18 – Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli has been banned for seven months by the Italian football federation (FIGC) for breaching betting rules, the latest high-profile Italian player to hit the headlines in recent days for the wrong reasons.
Fagioli agreed to a plea bargain with the federation including therapy for a gambling addiction. He has been co-operating with authorities to mitigate his punishment. That allowed the minimum ban of three years for players betting on matches to be greatly reduced.
The FIGC said in a statement that Fagioli has been suspended for 12 months but that five of those months were commutable in “alternative requirements.”
For that, he must attend treatment for gambling addiction for a minimum of six months and make at least 10 public appearances over the course of the next five months at centres for young players and associations for recovering addicts. He was also fined €12,500.
Fagioli has played in six of Juventus’ eight Serie A matches this season and is considered one of Italy’s top young midfielders. He will now likely miss the rest of the season, although he could return for the final two matches after his suspension ends.
“I thought I would begin by apologising not only to Juventus fans, but to all fans in the world of football and sport for the naive mistake I made,” Fagioli said on his Instagram account.
“Instead, I’m forced to start with the disgusting things that newspapers and people write about me, just to put me in a bad light with a thousand lies, or rather, just to gain two more views.”
Fagioli is not the first Juventus player to be banned this season. International midfielder Paul Pogba has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for testosterone.
Then then are the cases of Sandro Tonoli and Nicolo Zanioli, who both play in the English Premier League and were turfed out of the Italian training camp last Thursday after being notified by police of a criminal investigation into alleged gambling offences.
The FIGC confirmed at the time that that midfielder Tonali and forward Zaniolo, who play for Newcastle United and Aston Villa respectively, had been formally informed of the probe by prosecutors from Turin at the Azzurri’s Coverciano training centre. The pair subsequently missed Italy’s 3-1 Euro 24 qualifying defeat to England on Tuesday.
Contact the writer of this story, Andrew Warshaw, at email@example.com