Newcastle United’s Sandro Tonali and Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo, both Italy internationals, underwent police investigation at Italy’s Coverciano training base over alleged involvement with illegal digital betting platforms on Thursday, reported James Horncastle of The Athletic.
The Italian Football Association (FICG) officially confirmed that both players have been granted leave from international duty as Italy prepares for upcoming matches pertaining to the EURO 2024 Qualifiers.
A statement from FICG mentioned, “The Federation announces that this afternoon the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office has conducted investigations into players, Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo, who are currently training with the national team at the Coverciano Federal Training Centre.”
In response to the situation, the FICG decided to allow both players to return to their respective clubs, stating, “Regardless of the nature of the events, considering that the two players are not in the necessary condition to face the matches scheduled for the next few days, the Federation has decided, also for their protection, to allow them to return to their respective clubs.”
According to Horncastle’s research, “Article 24 of the FIGC’s sporting justice code prohibits the placing or taking of bets on events organized by the FIGC, FIFA, and UEFA.” That, in turn, could mean a violation of the code and “lead to a three-year ban and a fine of at least €25,000,” which is the penalty Tonali could face if proven guilty.
In a related story popping up earlier this year, Brentford forward Ivan Toney was banned for eight months for breaching the FA betting rules. Toney was banned until Jan. 16, 2024 and he was also fined €58,000 by the FA.
Toney was linked with Arsenal and Chelsea earlier this summer and at the end of the transfer window as he seemingly wanted to start anew away from Brentford. It was later reported that he opted to stay at AFC while looking forward to returning to the pitch with the club next January.
It’s unclear how Tonali’s ban (if it really happens) will affect his situation at Newcastle, but it would definitely not sit well at all with the new owners of the club after PIF spent a humongous €70m in the former AC Milan midfielder.