HomeSpalletti backs FIGC decision to release Tonali and Zaniolo

Spalletti backs FIGC decision to release Tonali and Zaniolo

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Italy coach Luciano Spalletti says it was the right decision to allow Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo to leave the national team camp and miss the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers with Malta and England.

Newcastle midfielder Tonali, 23, and Aston Villa attacker Zaniolo, 24, were named in an investigation by the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday and subsequently released by the Azzurri from their training base at Coverciano.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said the players were not in the “necessary condition” to play for their country and had been released partially for “their protection”.

The investigators have not disclosed the nature of the probe but Italian news agency ANSA reported it was related to illegal betting practices.

The news came a day after Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagiolo was also told he was under investigation for alleged betting misdemeanours.

Spalletti told Sky Italia: “It’s right to try to help them defend themselves, then justice will take its course.

“But if irregular things have been done, it’s right to pay.”

Spalletti, who led Napoli to the Serie A title last season, has sympathy for Tonali and Zaniolo.

He added: “We need to talk about the risk of falling for these temptations. [We should] talk to these young people about the pitfalls that exist.”

Italy take on Malta in Bari on Saturday before meeting England at Wembley on Tuesday.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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