Illegal betting by several active professionals has shaken Italian football. The verdict in the Nicolo Fagioli case is in. And how hard will Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo be hit?
Now the first penalty in the Italian fight against illegal betting by active professionals has been pronounced. What “Sky Sport Italia” had already reported this afternoon has now been officially confirmed by the Italian Football Federation FIGC. According to the report, Nicolo Fagioli’s lawyers have agreed with the federal prosecutor’s office on a seven-month ban for the Juventus professional. The 2023/24 season is over for the 22-year-old, but it is a significant reduction in the minimum sentence for an offence against Article 24 of the Sports Code. This would have provided for a three-year ban.
Officially, Fagioli is banned for twelve months, but he could serve five of them in another way: The midfielder has to follow a treatment plan of at least six months, which includes attending at least ten public meetings held within five months in amateur sports associations, federal territorial centres and gambling addiction recovery centres. The FIGC will check this closely and will also intervene if these rules are breached. In addition, the Juve professional will have to pay a fine of 12,500 euros.
According to the report, what helped Fagioli, who has been under official investigation since 11 October, was his full cooperation with the public prosecutor’s office and his willingness to tackle his own fight against gambling addiction.
The question remains how hard it will hit the “copycats” Sandro Tonali (23) and Nicolo Zaniolo (24). One day after the announcement of the investigation against Fagioli, the investigations into the duo of the Italian national team had become public. National coach Luciano Spalletti immediately sent home the Newcastle United professional and the Aston Villa one.
Tonali’s advisor: “Sandro is shaken, but he has already started to fight “
“I think it was right to send the boys home – also for their protection,” Sports Minister Andrea Abodi had then announced. On Tuesday, Tonali’s advisor Giuseppe Riso said on the sidelines of an event at the Italian embassy in London: “Sandro is shaken, but he has already started to fight. His most important fight against an illness has begun. He will win this fight. Sandro’s experience will save him.”
In his statement, Riso also explicitly thanked FIGC president Gabriele Gravina as well as parent club Newcastle, who were “very close” to the player during his difficult time. While Tonali seems to admit to betting on football matches like Fagioli, Zaniolo apparently has a different strategy. The offensive player denies having bet on football, saying instead that he went to illegal websites to play poker and blackjack.