A decision on Sandro Tonali’s ban for illegal betting could be made next week – meaning Newcastle’s clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday could be his last for some time.
The midfielder, who cost Newcastle £52million when he signed in July, is set to be hit with a ban of at least 12 months.
As Mail Sport reported on Wednesday, Newcastle will consider all their legal options as they absorb the shock news but the matter is expected to be resolved swiftly.
The Football Association are also waiting for confirmation of the punishment handed down by Italian authorities before investigating if any rules have been broken under their jurisdiction.
Reports in Italy claim Tonali, 23, has confessed to betting on AC Milan while a player at the club – an offence which carries a suspension of three years.
Newcastle’s Sandro Tonali is expected to receive a one-year ban for illegal betting, with the punishment potentially being announced next week
The FA say Tonali is still free to play for Newcastle on Saturday against Crystal Palace
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However, his admission of guilt and willingness to seek treatment for what his agent described as a ‘gambling addiction’ will help reduce any potential ban. It is also said he did not bet on Milan to lose matches.
Tonali has started five Premier League matches for Newcastle since his arrival, coming on in two others, and has started both their Champions League fixtures to date.
It remains to be seen whether manager Eddie Howe plays him against Palace at St James’ Park this weekend, with Newcastle also set to host Borussia Dortmund in Europe next Wednesday.
Tonali – as well as Aston Villa loanee Nicolo Zaniolo, also accused of illegal betting – withdrew from the Italy squad for their Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and England.
Newcastle must now attempt to determine how much Milan and Tonali knew of the investigation into illegal gambling when they splashed out £52m in the summer.
Howe said at the time they were delighted and surprised at being able to strike a deal for Milan’s captain.
Tonali would have known he had broken betting rules and, while Newcastle have said in a statement that they are supporting him and his family, it does raise questions over the club paying a lucrative salary to a player who is set to be suspended for actions before they owned him.
The midfielder – who was interrogated by Turin prosecutors for three hours on Tuesday – is now back on Tyneside and the FA say he is free to play at home to Palace on Saturday.
Howe must make a decision on his physical and mental state, while there is also the moral issue of including a player who has, reportedly, admitted to gambling on his own team.
Tonali – who joined Newcastle from AC Milan in the summer – admitted to the illegal betting
Tonali is among a number of players being investigated by the Italian authorities over betting
Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zanioli is also under investigation by prosecutors in Italy
Nicolo Fagioli will serve a seven-month betting ban after agreeing a plea bargain
Newcastle said in a statement: ‘Newcastle United can confirm that Sandro Tonali is subject to investigation by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in relation to illegal betting activity.
‘Sandro is fully engaging with the investigation and will continue to cooperate with all relevant authorities. He and his family will continue to receive the club’s full support.
‘Due to this ongoing process, Sandro and Newcastle United are unable to offer further comment at this time.’
With regards to the investigation, Fagioli became the first player to speak directly to prosecutors after news broke last week, and on Tuesday, the 22-year-old was handed a seven-month ban from football.
Zaniolo, Tonali, and Fagioli had their electronics confiscated on Thursday as part of the investigation, which also saw the Italian national team’s training camp raided by the authorities as they sought to interview Zaniolo and Tonali.
Italy head coach Luciano Spalletti called the raid ‘traumatic’ and described his players as ‘absolutely distraught’ by the investigation.
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