Newcastle United’s Sandro Tonali and Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo have left the Italy national squad after being questioned by Italian authorities over an investigation into an illegal betting probe.
Italian news agency ANSA reported that both players were met by police during a training session which would ultimately see them leave the national squad as they are “not in a position to face the commitments of the next few days”.
The Italian Football Federation (FAGC) confirmed Tonali and Zaniolo’s departure from the squad in a statement.
The FAGC statement reads: “The Federation announces that, in the late afternoon of today, the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office notified investigation documents to the players Sandro Tonali and Nicolò Zaniolo, currently in training with the national team at the Federal Technical Center in Coverciano.
“Regardless of the nature of the acts, believing that in this situation the two players are not in the necessary condition to face the commitments scheduled in the next few days, the Federation has decided, also to protect them, to allow them to return to their respective clubs.”
ANSA states that the betting breach allegations stem from a report by Italian journalist Fabrizio Corona, which alleges that Tonali and Zaniolo – as well as Juventus’ Nicolo Fagioli, who was questioned by prosecutors this week, are part of an investigation over a wider betting scandal.
Prosecutors in Turin took Fagioli into questioning as the 22-year-old midfielder’s name appeared by analysing and cross-referencing data from transactions carried out to verify real names, registered names and nicknames on illegal online gambling sites.
If any player in Italy is found breaking gambling laws in the country, they could serve up to a three-year ban and fine, a more severe penalty due to their status as professional sportspeople.
The FAGC and Turin prosecutors are yet to confirm that Tonali and Zaniolo have breached any betting or gambling regulations.