Tonali ‘willingly pleads guilty’ amid betting charges but still faces major ban

SANDRO TONALI’s representative has confirmed that the star is battling a gambling addiction amid shock betting allegations that could lead to a three-year ban.

Newcastle United’s 60m summer signing from AC Milan and Italy international Nicolo Zaniolo were officially placed under investigation last week with more than 40 players also suspected of being involved.

Sandro Tonali is allegedly trying to reach a plea deal with Italian authoritiesCredit: Getty
The Italian star’s representative revealed that the player is fighting a gambling addictionCredit: Getty

The duo were both questioned by police while on international duty before withdrawing from the squad as the investigation continued – with a new update claiming Zaniolo would continue to deny all allegations.

It comes as Tonali and Zanilo’s Italian teammate Nicolo Fagioli were banned for seven months for illegal betting.

The Juventus player received a “12-month ban”, five of which “will be transferred to alternative prescriptions”.

The midfielder was fined nearly £11,000 and must “participate in a treatment plan lasting at least six months and in a cycle of at least 10 public meetings, held within five months”.

Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera said Tonali, 23, was in tears and had hired a therapist to battle his gambling addiction.

Now his agent Giuseppe Riso has confirmed ahead of Newcastle’s home clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday that his client is seeking help as he expressed hope that the scandal can save your client’s life.

Speaking at an earlier event at the Italian embassy in London, Riso said: Sandro has a gambling addiction. He is fighting to avoid that and I am sure he will win this difficult game.

He was shocked, he was shaking and sad. I hope that this experience will save his life and that of many others, and that it will help those who have habits like his.

He then added: Sandro is training and on Saturday he can also compete.

He understood that he had to face this problem resolutely. The club is now completely on his side.

That was after La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the midfielder was willing to cooperate with FIGC and Turin prosecutors in the investigation.

They claimed that he would reveal all he knew about the betting scandal and the events on which he had gambled.

Juventus star Nicolo Fagioli, the first player to be investigated in the scandal, has also adopted a similar policy.

Gazzetta said that both Tonali and Fagioli gambled on soccer matches, violating Article 24 of the Code of Sports Justice.

If that is proven, they could face a minimum three-year ban – although a plea deal could halve the ban.

Fagiolis’ case is expected to be heard for the final time by FIGC Prosecutor Giuseppe Chine this week and he looks set to be banned from football for 10 to 18 months afterwards.

That punishment will be lighter thanks to the 22-year-old girl’s immediate cooperation with authorities.

However, this update from Gazzetta says that sanctions against Tonali and others involved could be higher as FIGC wants to send a strong signal to others.

It is also said that it is unclear whether Tonali gambled on Milan matches while at the club.

Investigators continue to analyze the mobile phones and tablets of Newcastle player and Aston Villa loanee Zaniolo, 24.

However, if Tonalis’ information matches what the investigation discovered on his device, the former Brescia player could face an 18-month suspension.

This update also claims that the investigation will still take several months to complete, which means he and Toon boss Eddie Howe will face an anxious wait to discover their punishment. What will he be?

Nicolo Zaniolo is said to be denying all allegations against himCredit: AP

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail claims that Zaniolo is set to seek a full acquittal from the gambling charges imposed on him by the Italian football federation as he continues to deny betting on football.

But Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina has vowed to fully support the players involved while they serve any suspension, saying: “As a human being, I feel for the two players, they are like children to me.

We should not condemn these young men. Gambling addiction is not a football problem but it is a social epidemic. I assure you that whoever asks for help, we will help.

Those who make mistakes will be punished and helped in a project of healing and restoration, he added. We need to put these people on the path to recovery.

We have to make sure these kids can come back. We will not abandon these boys. When.

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