Recent developments into the betting scandal occurring out of Italy indicates that as much as 40 players are involved, with Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo being some of the names listed.
Tonali and Zaniolo were pulled from the Italy national squad during a training session last week by police officials who took the Premier League duo into questioning over alleged violations of Italian betting laws.
The two were subsequently questioned by Turin public prosecutors and became the second and third high-profile players involved in the betting scandal after Juventus’ Nicolò Fagioli was also brought into questioning as he was allegedly betting on illegal online betting sites.
Authorities have confiscated the phones of all three players and continue to investigate if more players are involved, which Italian journalist Fabrizio Corona claims that up to 40 players are involved in the wider betting scandal.
Whilst Zaniolo arrived back in England to his club Aston Villa, his agent, Gianluca Tonozzi, claims that the midfielder did not gamble and if he did, he was unaware that the platforms were illegal.
Tonozzi stated: “Nicolo never bet. He also told me this. It is possible he played card games such as poker and blackjack on illegal online platforms, without knowing that they were (illegal). We will clarify everything.”
Whilst it is not known yet the depth of Tonali and Zaniolo’s involvement in the betting scandal, Fagioli has been working with officials in Turin after admitting he has a gambling addiction.
Fagioli’s agent, Marco Giordano, told La Repubblica that he informed the 22-year-old midfielder to report himself and that the problem gambling stemmed from before he enlisted him as his agent.
Giordano said: “The only thing we can say is that our client already had problems when he signed for us. It was close to summer, the first thing we told him was to get treatment.
“There was no mismanagement, we advised him to self-report and treat himself. Nicolò is suffering from ludopathy, a problem that arose when we were not his agents.
“We took him in the summer and, despite that, we decided not to leave him alone. So other than bad management, we helped him in every way. And I must say that he has behaved in an exemplary manner since he signed with us.”
With Italy already beginning its crackdown on illegal betting activity in the country, Italian professional athletes caught breaking betting laws could face a fine and three-year ban from their respective sport.
In Fagioli’s case however, due to cooperating with prosecutors he may be able to shorten the length of any form of potential ban.