Newcastle United’s Sandro Tonali has been hit with a 10-month ban from playing football over his involvement in illegal betting.
This comes after the £55m Newcastle midfielder and his lawyers reached a plea bargain with prosecutors and the Italian FA as he admitted to placing bets on AC Milan while still at the club. His contribution to the case was commended by Italian FA Chief Gabriele Gravina.
Tonali was first banned for seven months immediately after the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) found the player guilty of breaching the body’s regulations. The initial maximum penalty for Tonali then became four years, but his lawyers managed to reduce that to 10 months, eight of which for therapy, as a result of his cooperation with authorities.
Gravina added: “An agreement has already been reached between the Federal Prosecutor’s Office and Sandro Tonali, which occurred before the referral, therefore it must be endorsed by the undersigned, which I have already done.
“A plea bargain is envisaged for 18 months of which 8 months is activity recovery, some concerns therapeutic activity and at least 16 face-to-face meetings as testimony.
“A plea bargain is foreseen, mitigating circumstances are foreseen, the boys collaborated beyond belief, so we continue to respect the rules we have set for ourselves.”
While the ban takes place, Tonali will still be allowed to train with Newcastle but will miss the start of the new Premier League season, as well as Euro 2024. He still managed to partake in the Newcastle-Dortmund Champions League showdown on Wednesday as UEFA was still waiting confirmation on the ban from Italy.
Newcastle United are also reportedly currently exploring all legal options, including a compensation case due to being sold a player from AC Milan who had already breached betting rules.
It is believed that Tonali has been dragged into a wide-scale illegal betting scheme, with the player thought to have been questioned by Italian criminal prosecutor Manuela Pedrotta who is currently investigating an underground betting ring.