Posted on: October 26, 2023, 03:19h.
Last updated on: October 26, 2023, 03:21h.
Less than four months after signing with Newcastle United in England’s Premier League, 23-year-old midfielder Sandro Tonali has received a 10-month suspension and a €20,000 (US$21,100) fine. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) banned Tonali on Thursday for violating betting prohibitions, resulting in him missing the rest of the season and potentially next summer’s Euro 2024 if Italy qualifies. His agent attributes Tonali’s actions to a gambling addiction. Tonali’s transfer to Newcastle United earlier this year was the most expensive deal ever for an Italian player.
Tonali’s ban extends globally across FIFA and UEFA-sanctioned matches. In response to his violation, the FIGC has implemented a plea deal, which includes a mandatory eight-month counseling plan to address his gambling addiction. Additionally, Tonali will partake in at least 16 public engagements, where he will discuss the dangers of betting rule violations with youth football players and amateur sports associations. The FIGC will closely monitor his compliance, with potential consequences for any further violations.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office will monitor his compliance,” an FIGC statement explained. “In the event of a violation of this agreement, [the Prosecutor’s Office] will take measures within its jurisdiction. These measures would include termination of the agreement and the continuation of disciplinary proceedings before the judicial body of sporting justice.”
Tonali’s cooperation led to the FIGC agreeing to the plea deal, which ultimately reduced his ban from a potential three years to 10 months. He is one of three Italian footballers currently under investigation for betting violations, including Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli and Aston Villa midfielder/right winger Nicolo Zaniolo.
While Sandro Tonali’s betting scandal has made headlines, he is not the first prominent football player to face consequences for prohibited gambling. In 2017, former midfielder Joey Barton was initially banned for a year and a half for placing over 1,200 soccer bets over the course of a decade. The ban was later reduced to five months on appeal. Similarly, Brentford striker Ivan Toney was suspended for eight months by the English Football Association earlier this year for numerous betting rule violations, including instances where he bet against his own team.