As per multiple reports, Italy national team midfielders Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo have been accused of illegal betting by Italian authorities. The two players were informed about the ongoing investigation and questioned in a betting probe by prosecutors on October 12 while at a training camp with the national team in Coverciano.
According to Italian reporter Fabrizio Corona, one of the players placed bets on his team while on the bench during an ongoing match.
On the same day, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced that the two players would leave the disposition of the national team due to them not being in the “necessary condition” to face the upcoming matches against Malta and England. FIGC did not clarify what exactly had happened but the common understanding is that it had to do with the betting accusations.
Besides being teammates at the national level, both Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo currently play in the Premier League, at Newcastle United and Aston Villa respectively.
In addition to the two, Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli is involved in an analogous scandal. Similarly, Fabrizio Corona was the first person to break the news about an ongoing illegal gambling investigation months ago, and recent updates suggest that the 22-year-old may receive a lengthy ban.
What is Next for Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo?
The key thing to remember is that neither Sandro Tonali nor Nicolo Zaniolo have been found guilty of anything yet. The first step in determining that will be the investigation process which is expected to take at least a few months. In the end, it will be the court who decides whether Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo committed any wrongdoings.
Besides the judiciary system, though, there also exists the FIGC code of conduct which prohibits professional players in Italy from gambling on football. If they are found out to have done so, they risk a three-year suspension and a fine of up to €25,000.
In general, professional footballers are restricted from betting on football and football related events across the world, it doesn’t matter if they bet on their teams or on a match taking place all the way in Argentina.
One recent example of a player breaking this rule is Brentford's Ivan Toney. Back in May, the English striker admitted in court to 232 separate instances of breaking The FA Betting Rules between 2017 and 2021. Among other things, the 27-year-old bet on his team to lose in some of the matches he didn’t take part in. Toney was fined £50,000 and received an eight-month football ban. In his case, the investigation took over six months.