Sandro Tonali handed two-month suspended ban for betting breaches

Italian midfielder admits to betting 40 to 50 times on matches between August and October 2023, with four of those matches involving Newcastle
The post Sandro Tonali handed two-month suspended ban for betting breaches first appeared on EGR Intel.  

Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali has been handed a two-month suspended ban from all football activity by the Regulatory Commission for breaches of Football Association (FA) betting rules.

Tonali’s ban is suspended until the end of the 2024-25 season, as well as being issued a £20,000 fine and a warning. The ban will be enforced if Tonali breaches the rules again after the Italian admitted to placing up to 50 bets during a two-month period.

The FA alleged that Tonali had broken FA Rule E8, which states that players cannot either directly or indirectly instruct, permit, cause, or enable any person to bet on the result of matches or any incident within a match or competition. 

The rule also states players cannot bet on any other footballing matter, including the transfer of players or manager comings and goings. 

In this case, the FA alleged Tonali had breached the rules by placing close to 50 bets on matches between 12 August 2023 and 12 October 2023. 

The FA also alleged that the Italian midfielder placed at least four bets on the result or action within a match featuring Newcastle.

On 20 October 2023, Tonali self-reported his breaches to the FA, which was followed by Newcastle submitting nine documents concerning the breaches to the FA on 26 January 2024.

As detailed in the published case document, a redacted point does not clarify how the commission’s investigation progressed between this point and it then contacting six regulated operators to request confirmation on whether any “associated accounts” showed any breaches of the betting rules.

The operators confirmed there were no breaches relating to these accounts.

Following on, the FA contacted all UK-licensed operators to ascertain if any accounts existed under Tonali’s name, but none were identified during this initial search.

The commission then interviewed Tonali on 5 March 2024. The footballer admitted to placing between 40 and 50 bets during the aforementioned period, including four bets on Newcastle matches. 

The commission said that all of its findings were based on Tonali’s testimony. It remains unclear how the player was able to make the bets.

These games included three Premier League fixtures and a Carabao Cup match against Manchester City.

During the interview, Tonali admitted he could not remember if he backed his side to beat Brighton or Burnley, but was sure it wasn’t both, as part of an accumulator bet in September 2023.

The midfielder also backed Newcastle to beat Brentford on 16 September as part of an accumulator as well as the Magpies to beat West Ham as part of another multiple on 8 October.

Tonali was an unused substitute in the Brentford match but was involved in all of the other aforementioned matches. 

He also said during the interview with the FA that he could not remember exactly how much he had staked on each bet, but that it would not have been more than €10,000 (£8,559.19). 

Tonali added that he placed bets on other Premier League matches besides Newcastle’s, but didn’t place any bets on UEFA Champions League games or international matches. 

A series of written submissions lodged on behalf of Tonali appealed to the Regulatory Commission to take into account several mitigating factors when making its judgement on what punishment should be issued. 

Those submissions included claims that Tonali was not motivated by financial gain to bet on football, his cooperation with the investigation had been “unprecedented in many aspects” and that the footballer was not fully aware of the regulations.

However, it was noted that during the interview, Tonali said he was aware that betting on football was “illegal” and that the “relevant rules are the same as in Italy”.

The misconduct occurred around nine days after Tonali received relevant FA training on the subject.

The commission was also asked to consider that Tonali is already serving a 10-month ban for breaching regulations while with his former club, AC Milan. 

Following an investigation conducted by the Italian Football Association (FIGC), the Italian midfielder’s lawyers reached an agreement that will see Tonali spend eight months in therapy, which include anti-gambling treatment.

Tonali was handed the ban in October, which was originally set at 18 months but reduced to 10 with the caveat he’d agreed to receive therapy.

The report of the interview noted: “This process has had a profound effect on [Tonali] and is something he does not want to experience again. [Tonali] recognises that there can be no repeat and wants to apologise and give an assurance to that effect to the Commission.”

The submissions also called for a sporting sanction to be “reduced to the lowest level of applicable range at zero months”.

When considering the evidence presented, the FA ruled that the appropriate punishment was a ban of between zero and six months, alongside a fine.

The commission ruled that a suspended sentence would allow Tonali to resume playing football when the 10-month long Italian FA sanction comes to an end.

The Regulatory Commission pointed to the “fact that [Tonali] self-referred this misconduct, made full admissions as to it, and did so in circumstances where there is no other evidence to support these misconduct proceedings” as the key reasons for suspending the ban.

The ban will be suspended until the end of the 2024-25 season and, if Tonali does not commit any further breaches, he will not serve any part of the two-month ban.

The commission stated: “The commission concludes that the suspension period for the sporting sanction must be of such a length as to have a deterrent effect. The commission rejects the submission that the period of suspension of the sporting sanction should expire in 2024. Such a period would provide an insufficient deterrent effect in this case.”

It also noted that Tonali has taken a voluntary reduction in his weekly wage from Newcastle during the period of the Italian FA ban.

However, Tonali was fined £20,000 and issued with a formal warning for his conduct. He was also instructed to repay the Regulatory Commission’s administration costs.

The post Sandro Tonali handed two-month suspended ban for betting breaches first appeared on EGR Intel.

 

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