October 27, 2023 3 min read


Italian Soccer Star Sandro Tonali Banned for 10 Months in Betting Probe

This suspension is the culmination of a growing wagering scandal that raised significant concerns regarding the integrity of Italian soccer

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has confirmed that Sandro Tonali, the Newcastle United midfielder and Italian national footballer, has been banned from soccer for ten months due to severe betting breaches. Tonali will also take another eight months of rehabilitation, significantly impacting his career. This harsh punishment should serve as a warning to other players, safeguarding the sport’s integrity.

Tonali Took Responsibility for His Actions

A recent FIGC investigation implicated several high-profile players in alleged illegal gambling activities with unlicensed operators. The betting probe included names like Nicolò Fagioli, Nicolò Zalewski, and Nicolò Zaniolo, although only Fagioli has received a formal punishment. The Juventus midfielder was suspended for seven months thanks to a plea bargain with the FIGC.

The newest update indicates that Sandro Tonali will also receive a harsh punishment with a ten-month suspension and eight more months for rehabilitation. FIGC president Gabriele Gravina noted that the rules called for much stricter measures. However, Tonali’s cooperation and remorse convinced the federation to accept a plea bargain, hopefully aiding the recovery process.

The players’ collaboration went above and beyond. Therefore, we must continue to respect the rules we have established for ourselves.

Gabriele Gravina, FIGC president

The Italian National Olympic Committee will review Tonali’s ban and rehabilitation agreement. If approved, the proposed measures will extend internationally, ensuring compliance. The strict measures mean he will not be eligible to play until August. As a result, he will not be able to participate in the 2024 Euros should Italy qualify.

Gambling Sponsorships Foster a Dangerous Environment

Sandro Tonali’s agent, Giuseppe Riso, revealed the star player had been struggling with  gambling addiction. He lamented the FIGC judgment, noting that Tonali deserved empathy and support. Riso also blamed the rising prevalence of gambling ads on shirts, stadiums, and the media space, noting that they presented significant challenges for at-risk players. 

Sending someone addicted to gambling into this environment is like sending an alcoholic to work in a pub.

Giuseppe Riso, agent of Sandro Tonali

According to Riso, ending all forms of gambling advertising and sponsorships in soccer was the only feasible long-term solution. However, the sport has become synonymous with gambling, with many teams dependent on promotional agreements with operators to maintain their budgets. Pivoting away from such practices will prove extremely challenging and may not happen without regulatory interference.

Raising awareness of the consequences of gambling harm among professional soccer players remains one of the few viable short-term solutions. Tonali has agreed to make at least 16 public appearances during rehabilitation, aiding this cause. The substantial impact on his career should also present a potent warning, discouraging other athletes from breaking the rules.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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