Italy and Newcastle’s Tonali hit with 10-month ban for betting on matches

October 27 – Newcastle United’s Italian international midfielder Sandro Tonali, who cost £55 million just a few months ago, has been banned for 10 months over breaches of rules on betting on matches in Italy.

The 23-year-old will not be eligible to play again until August and will be unavailable to feature at Euro 2024 next summer should Italy qualify.

Tonali is the highest profile player caught up in a betting scandal that is shaking Italian soccer. His agent, Giuseppe Riso, admitted earlier this month that the player is fighting a gambling addiction.

“He is in shock, he is 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,” Riso was quoted as saying.

Earlier this month, Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli received a seven-month ban from the Italian FA (FIGC), also for betting breaches.

The FIGC confirmed that Tonali had breached the rule which prohibits players placing bets on football events organised by FIGC, UEFA and FIFA. As well as the ban he has been fined €20,000.

Tonoli was originally sanctioned for 18 months, eight months of which will be commuted to “a therapeutic plan” to help “recovery from gambling addiction”.

FIGC president Gabriele Gravina told Sky Sports Italia: “The plea bargain and extenuating circumstances have been taken into consideration and the player’s collaboration went above and beyond, therefore we must continue to respect the rules we have established for ourselves.”

During a three-year spell at Milan, Tonali helped the club win their first Serie A title for 11 years in 2021-22 and reach last season’s Champions League semi-finals. He came off the bench during Newcastle’s 1-0 defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Tonali has made 12 appearances for Newcastle since becoming their second most expensive signing. His penalty is harsher than the one handed down to Fagioli since he admitted to betting on his own previous teams, Brescia and Milan.

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