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Sandro Tonali admitted to making bets on AC Milan matches during his time with the Serie A side; Italy international midfielder joined Newcastle for £55m this summer; 10-month ban from football means he will not be available for action until August 2024

Thursday 26 October 2023 20:53, UK

Sandro Tonali will be banned from football for 10 months over breaches of rules on betting on matches in Italy, the head of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said on Thursday.

The 23-year-old, a £55m summer signing from AC Milan, will miss the remainder of Newcastle’s season and Italy’s Euro 2024 finals campaign, should they qualify.

Tonali will not be able to play competitive football until August 2024 but is free to train with Newcastle and play in friendlies.

He must also attend treatment sessions for problem gamblers and give a series of talks about his experience over a further eight-month period as part of his deal with Italian authorities.

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Newcastle’s Sandro Tonali was applauded off in his final Premier League appearance before his 10-month ban for betting.

Sky Sports News understands the PFA are working with the player.

The federation acted following an investigation by Turin prosecutors into soccer players using illegal websites to bet on games.

Tonali had been assisting the investigation and his legal team have been working on a plea bargain after he admitted to making bets on AC Milan to win games in a hearing at the Italian Federation in Turin.

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Paul Merson shares his thoughts on Sandro Tonali’s situation at Newcastle, with the Italian midfielder being investigated for alleged betting activity

Without his cooperation, Tonali could have faced up to a three-year suspension under FIFA rules.

FIGC President Gabriele Gravina said Tonali was suspended for 18 months but that eight of those months were commutable by attending treatment for gambling addiction and making at least 16 public appearances at centres for young soccer players and associations for recovering addicts.

“We can’t just think about punishing the boys and not helping them recover,” Gravina added. “I think it’s worth a lot more, rather than a month ban, eight months of giving talks about what they went through, in an honest way and with the right behaviour.”

Tonali came off the bench during Newcastle’s 1-0 defeat to Dortmund on Wednesday evening and manager Eddie Howe said the club is “committed to him long-term”.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson believes it’s a “tragedy” for Sandro Tonali to receive a 10 month ban for breaching betting rules. Hodgson describes the length of the suspension as “incredible”.

How will Newcastle cover Tonali absence?

Tonali is facing a lengthy ban from football

Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie:

“Tonali has agreed what is in essence a plea bargain with prosecutors over in Italy. It’s a big punishment as he will now also miss the Euros next summer for Italy in Germany.

“It didn’t come out that he bet on his team to lose but there was information given to us from our colleagues in Sky Italy that he did bet on matches involving AC Milan that would include them winning.

“The agreement of a 10-month ban is now in place and confirmation from UEFA will come soon. Newcastle still have a talent on their hands. We saw him come off the bench against Borussia Dortmund and I thought he did very well in that second half.

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Head of Sports Law at JMW Solicitors, Stephen Taylor Heath dissects Newcastle’s legal options with Tonali facing a ban from football for breaking betting rules

“He was superb on his debut against Aston Villa, scoring inside the first five minutes but Newcastle are going to have to make do without him until the end of the season.

“It does leave a big hole in their squad which currently has its injury problems. For Tonali, it’s going to give him time to get his career and life back on track.

“Howe has said that it is a time for everyone at the club to throw their arms around Sandro and support him. He’s had it from his manager, his team-mates and from the supporters.”

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