Much debate surrounded Sandro Tonali heading into the weekend, amid his recent betting scandal, and if this would result in the Italian being dropped from the Newcastle squad.
Tonali was withdrawn from international duty ahead of Italy’s Euro 2024 qualifier with England, after news broke that the midfielder had broken betting rules.
According to FIFA code 26, committing such an offence could result in as much as a three-year suspension from football, however a shorter ban is expected.
However manager Eddie Howe has given Tonali his vote of confidence ahead of this weekend, and has kept the £55 million man in his plans.
“He is very much with us. He trained twice this week; he is available for selection,” Howe told his pre-match press conference.
“Like I do with all the players, I will analyse their training performances, how they look and feel. Sandro has trained well with us.”
Tonali admitted on Tuesday that he had bet on his former club, AC Milan, to win games, whilst he was playing for the Rossoneri.
As a potential ban awaits, his boss has touched on how the 23-year-old is dealing with the prospect of time away from football.
“He’s had a very difficult couple of weeks; he’s been dealing with a lot and from what I can see he’s handling himself and his emotions strongly.
“For me it’s absolutely crucial. It’s the most important part of this whole incident is Sandro and his welfare.”
🗣 “He’s handling himself very well and he’s dealing with his emotions incredibly strongly”
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe says Sandro Tonali is available for selection, despite being under investigation for alleged illegal betting activity. pic.twitter.com/enBZb7dQy9
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) October 20, 2023
Ahead of their game against Crystal Palace tomorrow, Howe is keen to keep the focus on the football, and not let the situation effect his team as a whole.
“Underneath that I’m sure there is lots going on. I’ll have to make a call but I have to bring it back to football and try to make the best decision for the team.”
In a year that has seen Brentford forward Ivan Toney banned for a similar offence, betting in football seems to be more relevant than ever.