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Sandro Tonali faces severe punishment if he's found guilty in illegal betting probe

Sandro Tonali faces severe punishment if he's found guilty in illegal betting probe

Tonali and Italy teammate Nicolo Zaniolo have been questioned by police.

Newcastle star Sandro Tonali could face a ban of up to three years if he is found guilty amid a probe into illegal betting, it has been reported.

Tonali, along with Aston Villa loanee Nicolo Zaniolo, left Italy's training camp on Thursday after being informed by the Italian football federation (FIGC) that they were part of an investigation by Italian prosecutors.

They were then questioned by police in relation to the investigation.

Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli, who was not part of the Italy squad, had already been named in the investigation by the Turin chief prosecutor.

In an official statement published on Thursday, the FIGC confirmed: "The Federation announces that this afternoon the Turin Public Prosecutor's Office has conducted investigations into players, Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo, who are currently training with the national team at the Coverciano Federal Training Centre.

"Regardless of the nature of the events, considering that the two players are not in the necessary condition to face the matches scheduled for the next few days, the Federation has decided, also for their protection, to allow them to return to their respective clubs."

Newcastle midfielder Tonali and Zaniolo, who is on loan at Villa from Galatasaray, will be allowed to play whilst the investigation is ongoing.

It is alleged that the pair were users of illegal online betting platforms (via The Athletic).

The report adds that using licensed bookmakers in Italy is not a criminal offence, but using an unlicensed bookmaker is a criminal offence punishable by a three-month sentence or a fine 'on a sliding scale of €51,000-€516,000'.

And it is claimed that, if it is proven that those involved did bet on football, they would be in breach of Article 24 of the sporting justice code.

That offence carries a ban of no less than three years, and a fine of no less than €25,000, as part of a provision in the Article.

It is added that the suspension can be reduced by 50 per cent - thus reducing it from three years to 18 months - if a plea bargain is entered.

And it is also reported that the federal prosecutor of the FIGC will open an investigation into Tonali and Zaniolo, having already done so with Fagioli last month, with the outcome expected in December.

As per The Telegraph, any ban would likely be served worldwide - meaning it would apply to the Premier League.

Brentford striker Ivan Toney is currently serving an eight-month ban for gambling offences, a punishment handed down by the English FA in May.

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest defender Harry Toffolo received a suspended five-month ban last month for breaching FA betting rules - with an independent regulatory commission accepting 'very substantial mitigation' involving the player's mental health and belief that his football career was in decline, as per Sky Sports.

SPORTbible has contacted Sandro Tonali's representatives and Newcastle United for comment.

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Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Newcastle United, Sandro Tonali, Premier League, Italy, Aston Villa, Juventus