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Sandro Tonali banned from football for 10 months following betting scandal

It was good while it lasted.

Newcastle United FC v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Newcastle United’s midfielder Sandro Tonali faces a 10-month football ban after violating gambling rules set by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

The 23-year-old Italian international, who moved to Newcastle from AC Milan for €70m in July, will be barred from participating in any matches for both his club and national team during this period.

The suspension also includes eight months of rehabilitation activities, encompassing therapy. Tonali will be able to train and appear in friendly matches during his suspension.

FIGC President Gabriele Gravina disclosed the development, stating, “An agreement has already been reached between the FIGC’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office and Sandro Tonali, which has to be endorsed by me and I’ve already done that. An 18-month plea bargain is foreseen, of which eight months will be activities around rehabilitation.”

While gambling itself is not a crime in Italy on recognized platforms, FIGC’s sporting justice code explicitly prohibits betting on events organized by FIGC, FIFA, and UEFA.

Tonali’s legal team acknowledged discussions with prosecutors last week, seeking a swift resolution. Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli and Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo are also part of the investigation, with Fagioli already serving a seven-month ban.

Tonali’s agent, Beppe Riso, revealed his client’s struggles with a “gambling illness” and thanked Newcastle for their support.

Despite the ban, Newcastle’s head coach Eddie Howe expressed the club’s commitment to Tonali. Howe used Tonali as a reserve coming off the bench in last Saturday’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace, concluding the match with a lap of St. James’ Park.