Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo questioned by Italian police in illegal betting investigation

Newcastle United’s Sandro Tonali and Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo have been questioned by police at Italy’s Coverciano training base as part of an investigation into illegal digital betting platforms.

Both players have been granted leave from international duty as Italy prepare to face Malta in Bari tomorrow night and England at Wembley next Tuesday.

A statement from the Italian Football Assocation (FICG) read: “The Federation announces that this afternoon the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office has conducted investigations into players, Sandro Tonali and Nicolò 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.”

It comes after La Stampa published a story on Wednesday that Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli has been placed under investigation as part of a probe by the Turin flying squad into unlicensed betting platforms.

Gambling is not a crime in Italy as long as bets are placed on platforms recognised by the Customs and Monopolies agencies. Do otherwise and it is punishable by three-month sentence or a fine of between €51,000 and €516,000

Fagioli informed the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) of the Turin magistrates’ investigation on August 30 and there are  “ongoing proceedings” by the FIGC into the case.

When asked about being placed under investigation, Fagioli’s lawyers say he is “calm and entirely focused on Juventus and the league”. He has played six times for Juventus in Serie A this season, having made 37 first-team appearances in 2022-23.

Juventus declined to comment when approached by The Athletic.

Article 24 of the FIGC’s sporting justice code forbids the placing or taking of bets, directly or indirectly on events organised by the FIGC, FIFA and UEFA. Anyone who does risks a three-year ban and a fine of at least €25,000.

Aston Villa and Newcastle have been contacted for comment.

(Photo: Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

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