Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali will be banned from football for 10 months over breaches of rules on betting on matches in Italy, the head of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has said.
Italy midfielder Tonali, who joined Newcastle from AC Milan this year, must also attend treatment sessions for problem gamblers and give a series of talks about his experience over a further eight-month period as part of a deal with the FIGC.
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The plea-bargain agreement, which is expected to apply to international football, was confirmed by FIGC President Gabriele Gravina. It will rule Tonali out for the remainder of the club season and the Euro 2024 tournament in June and July.
Tonali is the highest profile player caught up in a betting scandal that is shaking Italian football.
The 23-year-old was found to have gambled on matches involving his former club AC Milan before he joined Saudi-owned Newcastle in a 56-million-pound ($67.7m) move that made him the most expensive Italian player in history.
Legal and sporting authorities have been investigating the use of illegal betting platforms by football players in Italy.
Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli has accepted a seven-month ban as part of a settlement with the FIGC after admitting to gambling problems.
Tonali’s agent, Giuseppe Riso, recently acknowledged that his client has a gambling problem and that Tonali told prosecutors he bet on AC Milan and Brescia when he played for those clubs.
The federation acted following an investigation by Turin prosecutors into footballers using illegal websites to bet on games.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has said the club will fully support him.
“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,” Howe said last Friday.
“We see him being part of our team for many years. We are committed to him long term.”
Source: News Agencies