Italy international Sandro Tonali’s 10-month ban for breaches of rules on betting on matches will apply worldwide, soccer’s governing body FIFA said on Friday, meaning he will play no part in Newcastle United’s Premier League season.
Tonali was sanctioned with an 18-month ban on Thursday by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), eight months of which will be commuted to alternative treatment after an agreement was reached with the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
FIFA said the FIGC requested that the ban apply worldwide, which was granted. It takes effect immediately. “The request submitted by the Italian Football Association to extend the sanction it imposed on the player Sandro Tonali on 27 October 2023 to have worldwide effect has been granted,” FIFA told Reuters.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said on Friday the club was in limbo over Tonali’s selection as they had not yet received official confirmation from Italian authorities. On Saturday they said they had received that confirmation.
“Sandro will be eligible to return to competitive football from Tuesday, 27th August 2024,” the club said. Tonali joined Newcastle from AC Milan in July for a reported fee of 70 million euros ($73.95 million), a record sum for an Italian player, but he will miss the rest of the season as well as the 2024 European Championship if Italy qualify. His last game was a second-half cameo in Wednesday’s 1-0 home defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
The 23-year-old is the highest profile player caught up in a betting scandal that is shaking Italian soccer. His agent has said he is suffering from a gambling addiction. Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli accepted a seven-month ban as part of a settlement with the FIGC after admitting to gambling problems.
The last high-profile Premier League player to be banned for breaches of betting rules was Brentford’s England striker Ivan Toney. He was banned for eight months in May.
The England international admitted to 232 breaches of the Football Association’s betting rules and will not be able to play again until Jan. 16, 2024.
Tonali’s Newcastle team mate Kieran Trippier was also suspended for 10 weeks in 2020 when the England right back breached betting rules. At the time, Trippier was at Atletico Madrid.