Sandro Tonali, a player for Newcastle, was banned from the sport for breaking FIGC’s anti-gambling rules. As a consequence, he was banned from playing football for 10 months and has to undergo eight months of treatment and rehabilitation.

As a result, this ban is now effective on a worldwide scale after receiving FIFA’s official endorsement. If Italy makes it to Euro 2024, he will not be able to participate and will miss the remainder of the ongoing season.

The Italy international was in line play in last weekend’s Premier League encounter against Wolves but later withdrew. The former Brescia and AC Milan player received a 10-month suspension after confessing to several violations of gambling laws.

The agent of the player, Giuseppe Riso, has since come clean about the 23-year-old’s gambling problem. In a scandal that is sweeping Italy and beyond, Tonali is just the most high-profile player to confess to gambling addiction and unlawful betting.

What did Newcastle and AC Milan say?

When the 23-year-old, who was instrumental in AC Milan‘s run to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last season, signed with Newcastle in July, it was the priciest Italian transfer in history. His arrival was monumental for a team on the upswing, which included their return to the UEFA Champions League after a 20-year absence.

The Rossoneri may have known about his gambling problem, as many have since written. Dan Ashworth, the Magpies’ sports director, didn’t completely rule out that scenario either, albeit maintaining that it’s tough to know for sure.

AC Milan had been accused of knowing of Tonali’s issues when they decided to sell him
AC Milan had been accused of knowing of Tonali’s issues when they decided to sell him

AC Milan had been accused of knowing of Tonali’s issues when they decided to sell him

“It was a massive shock, a massive surprise. Dealing with it was new to all of us. It came from nowhere. We first became aware of it when was there a potential allegation on social media. I spoke with his representatives and it just happened really quickly.

“Like any player, we will miss him of course, he is a top player and a big signing. To contextualise it, it could have been an ACL. These things happen in football, but obviously, when it happens in this context it’s not something you expect. For me, from the minute it happened, you look at yourself.

“What could we have done better? What could I have done better and what are the lessons learned from this? Could we have known? Should we have known? You look at your processes. We spend an immense amount of time looking at the character as well as the athlete. We have and will continue to review what we have done in the past and will do going forward.”

FA open new investigation

In light of Ashworth’s declaration, the Rossoneri felt compelled to issue a statement of their own: “We first learned about Tonali’s addiction through media reports, and what we know is only what we read. We don’t know anything else.”

While the Football Association looks into whether the midfielder Sandro Tonali has gambled on sports since his arrival to Newcastle, he may face a second suspension for gambling. If he has bet after his move from Serie A, his punishment may be much longer, according to The Telegraph and The Athletic.

According to the report, the midfielder has cooperated completely with the FA. Now, he is waiting to see whether any further action will arrive.

Photo credits: IMAGO / Sportsphoto : IMAGO / PA Images