Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo have left the Italy national team camp due to an ongoing investigation into alleged illegal betting. Both players, who represent Newcastle United and Aston Villa in the Premier League, were initially included in the squad for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and England. However, they have been released from the squad for their own protection while Italian prosecutors conduct their investigation.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) confirmed the situation, without specifying the exact nature of the investigation, but reports suggest that the players are being questioned about illegal betting. The investigation may involve the seizure of their phones and an examination of the alleged bets made outside of licensed bookmakers. If found guilty, both Tonali and Zaniolo could face a three-year ban from football, as per Italian regulations.
This development follows earlier reports of Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli also being investigated for illegal gambling activities, with a parallel probe to determine whether his betting activities were related to football matches.
Sandro Tonali, who joined Newcastle United from AC Milan for £55 million in the summer, has become a regular starter for the team. He has made ten appearances and scored on his Premier League debut against Aston Villa. Nicolo Zaniolo, on the other hand, is on a season-long loan at Aston Villa from Galatasaray and has played in ten matches for the club.
The availability of Tonali and Zaniolo for their respective club matches against Crystal Palace and West Ham United, when they return to Premier League action, remains uncertain. Italy has called up Roma’s Stephan El Shaarawy to replace them in the national team squad for the upcoming fixtures against Malta and England.