SANDRO TONALI’s agent has confirmed that the star is battling a gambling addiction amid the shock betting allegations that could potentially result in a three-year ban.
Newcastle United’s £60m summer signing from AC Milan and fellow Italian international Nicolo Zaniolo were officially put under investigation last week with over 40 players also suspected to be involved.
Sandro Tonali is allegedly attempting to strike a plea deal with Italian authoritiesCredit: Getty
The Italy star’s agent has revealed the player is battling a gambling addictionCredit: Getty
The duo were both questioned by police while on international duty before pulling out of the squad as the investigation continues – with a fresh update claiming Zaniolo will continue to deny all charges.
Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera stated that Tonali, 23, was in tears and has hired a therapist to battle a a gambling addiction.
Now his agent Giuseppe Riso has confirmed ahead of Newcastle’s home clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday that his client is seeking help as he outlined his hope that the scandal could “save” his client’s life.
Speaking at an event earlier at the Italian embassy in London, Riso said: “Sandro suffers of gambling addiction. He’s fighting to avoid that and I’m sure he will win this difficult game.
“He is in shock, he is shaken and sad. I hope that this experience saves his life and that of many others, that it helps those who fall into the same habit as him.”
He then added: “Sandro is training, and on Saturday he could also play.
“He understood that he has to face this problem in a determined way. The club is absolutely at the moment on his side.”
That was after La Gazzetta dello Sport has reported that the midfielder is ready to “collaborate” with FIGC and Turin Prosecutors in the investigation.
They claim that he will reveal all he knows about the betting scandal and which events he gambled on.
Juventus star Nicolo Fagioli, who was the first player to be investigated in the scandal, has also adopted the same policy.
Gazzetta say that both Tonali and Fagioli gambled on football games, which breaches Article 24 of the Code of Sporting Justice.
Should that be proven, then they could face a minimum ban of three years from playing – although a plea bargain could halve that suspension.
Fagioli’s case is allegedly set to be heard by FIGC Prosecutor Giuseppe Chine for the final time this week and then he looks likely to be hit with a ban from 10 to 18 months.
That punishment will be more lenient due to the 22-year-old’s instant collaboration with authorities.
However, this update from Gazzetta says that the sanctions for Tonali and others involved could be higher as FIGC want to send a “strong signal” to others.
It is also believed to still be unclear whether Tonali gambled on Milan games while still at the club.
Investigators continue to analyse mobile phones and tablets belonging to the Newcastle ace and Aston Villa loanee Zaniolo, 24.
But, if Tonali’s information matches what the investigation discovers on his devices, then the ex-Brescia man is likely to get an 18 month suspension.
This update also claims that the investigation will still “take a few months to complete” which means that he and Toon boss Eddie Howe will face an anxious wait to discover what his punishment will be.
Nicolo Zaniolo is believed to be denying all accusations made against himCredit: AP
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail states that Zaniolo “is set to seek a full acquittal from gambling charges levied at him by the Italian football federation as he continues to deny having placed bets on football.”
But Italian Football Federation president, Gabriele Gravina, has vowed to offer full support to those players involved while they serve any suspensions, saying: “As a human being I feel for the two players, they are like children to me.
“We should not condemn these young boys. Gambling addiction is not a football problem, it’s a social plague. I assure you that whoever is asking for help we will help.”
He added: “Whoever made a mistake will be punished and helped in a healing and recovery project. We need to put these people on a path to recovery.
“We have to make sure these children can come back. We will not abandon these boys. Ever.”