Newcastle United and Italy midfielder Sandro Tonali has been banned for 10 months for violating betting regulations, the president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), Gabriele Gravina, said on Thursday.
“The 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,” said Gravina after leaving the 23-year-old player’s hearing as filmed by a number of Italian media outlets, including CNN affiliate Sky24.
Tonali, who joined Newcastle from AC Milan in July, will be unavailable for both club and country until August next year, meaning he would be unavailable to represent Italy’s men’s national team at the 2024 Euros if the Azzurri successfully qualify.
Tonali’s representatives were in Italy to negotiate a plea deal on his behalf. Tonali has not publicly commented on the case.
CNN has reached out to Tonali’s lawyers and agency for comment.
Ahead of Newcastle’s Premier League game against Crystal Palace last Saturday, the club’s manager Eddie Howe told the BBC that Tonali had been “handling himself really well and is dealing with emotions incredibly strongly.”
According to Gravina, the plea agreement reached between the player’s representatives and the federal prosecutor ensures a reduced punishment for the midfielder.
Article 24 of the FIGC’s sporting justice code prohibits players from placing or taking bets on events organized by the FIGC, FIFA and UEFA. If a player is found to have breached the article, they can be punished with a three-year ban, but this can be reduced with a guilty plea.
The 23-year-old will also undergo a therapy plan for gambling issues – which his lawyers said were connected to gambling addiction, according to Reuters – as well as making 16 speaking appearances as community service.
Tonali signed for Newcastle in the summer for a reported fee of $74 million, per Reuters. This was a record sum for an Italian player.
During his time with AC Milan, Tonali helped the club win its first Serie A title in 11 years in the 2021/22 season and reach last season’s Champions League semifinals.
Tonali came on as a second-half substitute in Newcastle’s Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
The decision comes just weeks after Juventus midfielder Nicolò Fagioli was handed a seven-month ban and fined €12,500 ($13,200) for also breaching betting rules.
The 22-year-old Fagioli also has to undergo gambling therapy and attend “at least 10 public meetings” to speak as part of his treatment.
Tonali and his fellow Italy international teammate Nicolò Zaniolo withdrew from the national team squad earlier this month after their involvement in gambling investigations was released. Zaniolo is currently being investigated.
CNN’s Barbie Nadeau contributed to this report.
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