Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali and Nicolò Zaniolo of Aston Villa have been sent home from international duty with Italy. The duo – along with Juventus youngster Nicolò Fagioli – have been implicated in an investigation over illegal betting activities.
According to a report in the Italian press, police arrived at the Italy training camp at Coverciano at 5:40pm local time in order to question them.
The Italian FA (FIGC) then took the decision to send both Tonali and Zaniolo back to their respective Premier
Samuele Ricci of Torino and Roma’s Stephan El Sharaawy have been called in as replacements by boss Luciano Spalletti.
It’s been reported that any ban received by Tonalo and Zaniolo would be applicable worldwide.
More players involved in the scandal could also be named in the coming days, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
The lawyer representing Fagioli has revealed that the 22-year-old turned himself in to authorities over the alleged illegal betting activities. Reports on Friday confirmed that Fagioli has admitted the offences and has turned over his mobile phone as evidence.
Turin Chief Prosecutor Enrica Gabetta has already confirmed that the Italy international is being investigated, and separate proceedings have been launched by the FIGC.
The type of gambling activity Fagioli has been accused of has not yet been made public, but
FIGC regulations state that any player found to have been gambling on football risks a ban of at least three years, alongside a fine of at least €25,000 ($26,520).
“Nicolò is calm and is fully concentrated on Juventus and the season ahead,” Lawyer Luca Ferrari told Italian news agency ANSA. “In reference to the news that appeared in the press today, we can confirm that our client is dealing with the matter responsibly, with a view to maximum transparency and collaboration with the ordinary and sporting judicial authorities, as demonstrated by the fact that he was the first to act promptly and swiftly towards the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.”
Fagioli has made six appearances for the Bianconeri this season, having first burst onto the scene under boss Max Allegri in 2022/23. The youngster made 17 starts for Juve in that campaign, scoring three goals and providing three assists.
Meanwhile, Tonali has quickly become an important member of Eddie Howe’s Newcastle since joining from Milan in the summer, having already made seven Premier League appearances and two Champions League starts.
Zaniolo is currently on loan at Aston Villa from Turkish side Galatasaray, and has made six appearances under Unai Emery.