The president of the Italian football federation (FIGC), Gabriele Gravina, announced that Sandro Tonali, a midfielder for Newcastle, has been suspended from playing for 10 months due to his violation of Italian gambling rules. Gravina also stated that Tonali will be required to complete an eight-month rehabilitation program as part of the disciplinary agreement.
The agent of Tonali has disclosed that his client suffers from a gambling problem and has fully collaborated with authorities in Italy. Tonali confessed to placing bets on games, including some that he participated in while playing for Milan. He transferred from Milan to Newcastle for a fee of £55m in July.
Italian professional soccer players are not allowed to place bets on any tournaments organized by Fifa, Uefa, or the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). Violating this rule can result in a three-year suspension, but a reduced penalty may be given if the player admits guilt.
Gravina stated that an agreement has been reached between the FIGC prosecutor and Tonali, which has been approved by him. This agreement includes a 10-month suspension and eight months of rehabilitation, as well as a requirement for Tonali to make at least 16 public appearances.
Tonali’s lawyer was in Italy this week to negotiate a plea bargain for the 23-year-old, who has been promised his club’s full support. Newcastle’s manager, Eddie Howe, said last Friday: “We will throw our arms around Sandro and protect him and try to give him the love and support he needs to find solutions to the problems he’s had. We see him being part our team for many years. We are committed to him long term.”
The FIGC reached a settlement with Nicolò Fagioli, the midfielder for Juventus, last week. As a result, he has been banned for seven months for violating regulations related to betting on matches. While his suspension was initially for 12 months, five of those months were suspended. Additionally, he was fined €12,500 (£10,843) and has committed to participating in a treatment program for gambling issues.