Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali, the 23-year-old Italian sensation who made a high-profile move to the Premier League in July, has recently found himself under scrutiny for alleged illegal betting activity.
The Italian Prosecutor’s Office and the Italian football federation have launched an investigation into Tonali’s involvement in betting, leading to his withdrawal from the Italian national team’s training camp ahead of Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and England.
This incident raises questions about the responsibilities and consequences that professional footballers face when they engage in such activities.
Newcastle United’s Response
In response to the ongoing investigation, Newcastle United has expressed its commitment to cooperating fully.
The club released a statement emphasizing their support for Tonali and his family throughout the process.
🚨⚪️⚫️ Eddie Howe on Sandro Tonali:— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 20, 2023
“He's handling himself really well. He's trained twice this week with us and he's very much available for selection”.
“We feel as a football club to throw our arms round him and protect him to give him the love and support he needs”. pic.twitter.com/pgSEVGFxBU
They also noted that due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, they cannot provide further comments at this time.
It’s important to note that Tonali is not the only player who has been caught up in this controversy. His fellow countryman and Aston Villa midfielder, Nicolo Zaniolo, was also withdrawn from the Italian national team’s training camp under similar circumstances.
The Case of Nicolo Fagioli
In a related development, Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli faced disciplinary action from the Italian football federation (FIGC) for violating betting rules.
Fagioli was handed a seven-month suspension, with five months of the one-year ban being suspended, and a fine of 12,500 euros (£10,848). Additionally, he agreed to undergo a therapy plan aimed at tackling his gambling problem.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been banned from football for eight months after admitting 232 breaches of the Football Association’s betting rules.
Should Sandro Tonali Face a Similar Ban?
The real question that arises in light of these incidents is whether Sandro Tonali should face a ban if found guilty.
The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the severity of his involvement in illegal betting, any prior offenses, and the evidence presented during the investigation.
Football’s governing bodies, including the Italian football federation and FIFA, have strict regulations in place to prevent match-fixing and maintain the integrity of the sport.
Any player found guilty of breaching these regulations can face serious consequences, including fines, suspensions, and potential bans.