Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo have departed the Italy national team setup due to an ongoing gambling investigation in the country. The star midfield duo was notified of the police inquiry by a prosecutor on Thursday. Both players were at the Italy team headquarters when they received the news.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) confirmed the investigation in a statement regarding the situation. However, the organization did not add further details on why the two were being looked at by police.

“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 Center,” read the official statement.

“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.”

Italy authorities link Zaniolo and Tonali to illegal gambling

While the federation is remaining quiet on the situation, there are rumors that the duo participated in illegal betting. Italian tabloids claim that Tonali and Zaniolo both recently had their phones confiscated by police. La Repubblica then reported on Friday that the midfielders denied that they ever placed bets on soccer games.

Fellow Italian midfielder Nicolo Fagioli is also currently under investigation in the illegal betting probe. The Juventus star faces a fine and a lengthy ban if authorities find him guilty. Nevertheless, the public does not know what Fagioli bet on.

Star duo recently signed with Premier League clubs

Italian soccer officials can suspend players for betting on matches. However, authorities of the sport do not deal with other types of gambling. Italian Football Federation rules currently state that any player convicted of betting on games could face a three-year ban.

Tonali and Zaniolo only just recently joined Premier League teams. Tonali made a shock move to Newcastle this summer in a massive $67 million move from AC Milan. Zaniolo, on the other hand, currently plays for Aston Villa. He secured a loan deal in August.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Beautiful Sports