HomeTonali will win battle against gambling addiction - Riso

Tonali will win battle against gambling addiction – Riso

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Sandro Tonali’s agent has confirmed his client is fighting a gambling addiction but is confident it’s a battle the Newcastle midfielder will win.

Tonali was named in an investigation by the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office last week into illegal betting practices, along with Aston Villa’s on-loan attacker Nicolo Zaniolo. Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli had been named previously.

Tonali and Zaniolo were subsequently released from the Italy squad for the Euro 2024 qualifying doubleheader against Malta and England, with the second of those games coming tonight at Wembley.

Speaking in London, Tonali’s agent Giuseppe Riso told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Sandro is playing an important game against a gambling addiction: he will win this one too.

“Congratulations to Newcastle who have always been at Sandro’s side. 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 this same habit.”

After leaving the Italy camp at Coverciano, Tonali returned to Tyneside and, while he is reportedly in contention to play against Crystal Palace at the weekend, he was in Turin on Tuesday to visit the prosecutor.

Riso added: “He understands that he has to face this problem in a determined way.”

Reports suggest it’s unlikely the criminal punishment will be severe but the Italian FA (FIGC) are set to take a dim view if it is found Tonali has gambled on games that featured any of his current or former teams – Milan, Newcastle or Italy.

Sanctions can be as severe as a three-year ban but that is unlikely to be enforced if Tonali continues to co-operate fully and express remorse for his actions.

FIGC president Gabriele Gravina, who is also in London for the clash with Gareth Southgate’s side, vowed to support Tonali and the other players involved.

He said: “In Italy there is a disease: gambling addictions are a social plague. It’s not just a problem in Italian football.

“There are 5.1 million people who gamble and 1.5 million are sick. It is clear that some of those will be in football.

“Those who make mistakes will be punished, with the utmost speed and clarity. But also, all those who ask for help will have it: the FIGC must not only punish, but also assist in the healing process.”

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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