Italy and Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali is willing to assist investigators looking into a betting scandal in Italian football, media reports said on Monday.
Tonali, only signed by Saudi-owned Newcastle in the close of season from AC Milan, was sent home last week from the Italy camp preparing to play England in a Euro qualifier on Tuesday.
On-loan Aston Villa forward, Nicolo Zaniolo was also excused after it emerged he too was being investigated by the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The Italian Football Federation said the decision was taken because the players were “not in the necessary condition” to play.
Now La Repubblica newspaper says 23-year-old Tonali is ready to cooperate with prosecutors. He is “devastated,” his lawyer was quoted as saying.
The central figure in the betting scandal so far has been Juventus midfielder Nicolò Fagioli. He too is talking to prosecutors and has denied betting on his own team’s matches.
Gambling is generally allowed in Italy, but not on illegal online platforms. Players are also not allowed to bet on sports in which they are active. If they are caught, they face fines and a possible three-year ban.
Prosecutors have not yet commented on whether any players are at risk of being charged. Italian media say more footballers will be exposed as being involved.
Italian football is no stranger to scandal, with the Calciopoli match-fixing affair of 2006 one of many to have hit the game there over the years.