Newcastle's £52m Star Sandro Tonali Banned Amidst Massive Gambling Probe

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
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Italian footballer Sandro Tonali has been banned for the remainder of this season as a result of his alleged role in a massive gambling probe that has reportedly netted nearly 40 players. 

Tonali was recently signed at New Castle for £52m.

His own agent, Giuseppe Riso, admits that Tonali is a "gambling addict" and is cooperating with prosecutors. 


"Sandro is playing an important game against gambling addiction - he will win this one too,' he said of this 23-year-old client.

"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.

Riso added: "Sandro is training, and on Saturday he could also play. He understood that he has to face this problem in a strong, determined way. The club is absolutely at this moment by his side."

Tonali's admission of guilt is believed to have helped him to reduce the ban. 

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.

Italian FA chief Gabriele Gravina confirmed an agreement had been reached for a 10-month ban.

"An agreement has already been reached between the Federal Prosecutor's Office and Sandro Tonali, which occurred before the referral, therefore it must be endorsed by the undersigned, which I have already done,’ Gravina told reporters.

‘A plea bargain is envisaged for 18 months of which 8 months is activity recovery, some concerns therapeutic activity and at least 16 face-to-face meetings as testimony.

‘A plea bargain is foreseen, mitigating circumstances are foreseen, the boys collaborated beyond belief, so we continue to respect the rules we have set for ourselves.’

Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer told BBC Radio 5 Live it will be "really difficult" for Tonali to remain living in England during the course of the ban but pointed out that the "Newcastle public have shown great support" to the Italian.

"He [Howe] came out and stuck up for him as you'd expect and he said he wanted everyone to put their arms around him," Shearer said.

"Certainly the crowd did that at the weekend [against Crystal Palace] and when they were going round the pitch at the end he got a great reception. There's a fine balance between a punishment and protecting people."

Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli received a seven-month ban from the FIGC earlier this month for betting violations.

Professional footballers in Italy are prohibited from betting on any competition organised by Fifa, Uefa or the FIGC.

- Alistair Prescott,

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