The Turin Public Prosecutor's Office announced their official investigation into the potential gambling activities against the Italy squad duo. On Thursday, Tonali (Newcastle) and Zaniolo (Aston Villa) players left the Coverciano training center to return to their respective clubs.
Tonali and Zaniolo face betting breach allegations
The Italian Football Federation issued a statement, saying, “The Federation announces that, in the late afternoon of today, the Public Prosecutor's Office of Turin has notified investigative acts to footballers Sandro Tonali and Nicolò Zaniolo, currently meeting with the national team at the Federal Technical Center of Coverciano near Florence.
Regardless of the nature of the acts, considering that in this situation the two players are not in the necessary condition to face the commitments scheduled in the coming days, the Federation has decided, also to protect them, to allow them to return to their respective clubs”.
Twitter is making a light of the accusations, with one fan saying “BREAKING: I’m told Sandro Tonali is completely innocent and this is all a setup by angry bitter Italians.”
If true, Tonali and Zaniolo join a long line of football gamblers, including Toon products Joey Barton and Kieran Tripper, plus former Liverpool ace Daniel Sturridge. 23-year-old Tonali joined Newcastle on a €70 million deal over the summer. The midfielder recorded the fastest top speed of any player (35.5km/h) in the Champions League last week.
With Tonali and Zaniolo on their way home following the scandal, Italy head coach Luciano Spalletti called Matteo Politano and Samuele Ricci to replace them. Italy face off against Malta on Saturday in Euro qualifiers and England next Tuesday at Wembley Stadium.