Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali has been banned from football for ten months for breaking betting rules. It comes after the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) found Tonali had breached their regulations, which state that no professional footballers are allowed to gamble on matches organised by FIFA, UEFA or the FIGC.
The breaches came during Sandro Tonali’s Betting Rules Breach: How it Led to 10-Month Ban’s time at former club AC Milan, having made the switch from the Rossoneri to Tyneside for £55 million this past summer.
The ban will mean that the Italy international will now miss the 2024 European Championships should his country qualify, as well as the remainder of Newcastle United’s Premier League and Champions League campaign.
Breaking gambling rules in Italy is meant to result in a three-year ban from all footballing activity. However, a guilty plea and cooperation on Tonali’s part lessened the punishment.
FIGC President Gabriele Gravina has said, “The plea agreement is for 18 months, of which eight months is for rehabilitation, which involves therapeutic activity and making at least 16 public appearances.”
Sandro Tonali’s Betting Rules Breach: How it Led to 10-Month Ban’s verdict comes after Juventus midfielder Nicolò Fagioli was banned for up to seven months for similar breaches of betting rules. Another Italian international, Nicolò Zaniolo, who is currently on loan at Aston Villa from Galatasaray, is to give his testimony in Turin tomorrow against the same breaches charged against him.
A number of top-flight players have come under investigation in recent years. In May, Brentford forward Ivan Toney was given an eight-month ban, fined £50,000 and Nottingham Forest full-back Harry Toffolo’s five-month ban has been pushed back to the end of the 2024/25 season and West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta is currently being investigated.
In 2020, England defender Kieran Trippier was banned for ten weeks and fined £70,000 by the FA while playing for Atletico Madrid.Embed from Getty Images
Though Tonali’s Betting Rules Breach: How it Led to 10-Month Ban’s struggles with gambling is nothing new. Peter Shilton, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Michael Chopra and Andros Townsend are just some of the former pros who have spoken about their struggles. Former Arsenal and England playmaker Paul Merson has spoken about his gambling addiction, which impacted him in his playing days and out of them.
Embed from Getty Images
“Gambling is an invisible enemy.
“You’re not gambling for the money, it’s just for the buzz.
I won the league for the second time in 1991. I’d just bought quite a nice house, and I was sitting on concrete. I didn’t have carpet. People can’t tell me I was gambling to win this and that, to buy a silk carpet. I was gambling because I gambled. It’s for nothing but the buzz.”
Toney was diagnosed with a gambling addiction as his eight-month term was handed to him earlier this year. Though there will certainly always be a place for sports betting, steps have been taken in England to reduce the amount of gambling advertisement shown in the game, with Premier League clubs unable to have shirt sponsorship from betting companies from the 2026/27 season onwards.
Though for fewer breaches of regulations to happen, it appears more has to be done to combat the root cause of players’ struggles before such addictions are allowed to rise further.
Help for gambling addiction can be found through the links below:
International Support: https://www.ncpgambling.org/5475-2/