It’s not looking good for Newcastle United, let alone for Sandro Tonali.
According to the Italian outlet, Tonali ”has admitted to participating in betting,” and even more he has revealed that he did so in games played by his own club, AC Milan. This revelation wrote the newspaper, was made “during a nearly three-hour-long interrogation with the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office” on Tuesday.
Tonali’s cooperation in the investigation has been notable if only because he seems to be collaborating, which doesn’t mean it won’t damage his reputation and leave him off football fields for more than he ever believed.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office (led by Giuseppe Chine) reportedly “met with Tonali in an undisclosed location,” where the player shared the complete truth about his involvement in the betting saga under investigation.
Tonali’s admission about placing bets on his own team, AC Milan, was as great as it was ridiculous, risky, and whatever else you want to call it. But let’s be honest for a minute here. If Tonali did that for real, there is no saving him whether he confesses or not or does whatever he wants to do next. It’s a crime worth punishing, full stop.
According to the Sports Justice Code, “engaging in acts aimed at altering the progress or result of a match is strictly prohibited.” Now, tell me what betting on your team’s result is.
Gazzetta reported that “initial findings suggest that Tonali’s bets did not influence his on-field performance,” which is the most subjective thing ever written in printed media.
If Tonali is found guilty of having altered match results directly by way of those bets, however, he would have broken Article 24 of the Code, per Gazzetta again, which penalizes players betting on football with a minimum three-year sentence. Three. Year. Sentence. Sheesh... that PIF investment.
The midfielder, supposedly expressing “remorse,” aims to follow a similar path to Juventus player Nicolo Fagioli, who is seeking a plea bargain within a short timeframe to miss as little time as possible. Fagioli has been suspended for seven months.
If Tonali’s bets on Milan are verified, wrote Gazzetta, the initial sanction “may exceed three years, possibly reduced to three and a half or four with a pre-referral plea agreement.”
The anticipated sanctions could include “a 12-month disqualification from playing and six months of alternative measures.” Tonali’s revelation of a gambling addiction may be considered as a mitigating factor in determining the final outcome, although that’s still very much up in the air.
Tonali’s statements will be contrasted with evidence seized from his electronic devices, reported Gazzetta. Any inconsistencies may impact the severity of the penalty, so he better know what he’s saying and what he’s not.
At this point in the investigation and with the international break over, Tonali’s future in football—not to mention Newcastle—hangs in the balance pending the outcome of both sporting justice proceedings and the broader criminal investigation.
Newcastle bought Tonali from AC Milan last summer, at the start of July, signing him to a five-year deal through 2028. PIF spent €70m in the player, a record fee paid for an Italian football player.
Tonali has appeared in seven Premier League games and two Champions League matches for Newcastle. He might never do it again.