Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe hugs Sandro Tonali after the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at St. James Park on October 21, 2023
Newcastle Utd manager Eddie Howe and Sandro Tonali.
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Howe says Tonali has sought help for gambling ‘illness’

Eddie Howe has said Sandro Tonali has sought help as the Newcastle midfielder looks to combat his gambling ‘illness’.

Tonali is currently serving a 10-month ban from football issued by the Italian Football Federation for breaking gambling rules in Italy.

Further punishment could await the Italian, after he was charged by the Football Association for alleged breaches of betting rules this week, relating to 50 bets placed between 12 August and 12 October 2023.

 

The 23-year-old signed for Newcastle from AC Milan for a fee of £55m last summer and the Magpies could now lose the big-money signing for an even longer period.

“We don’t know is the honest answer – I certainly hope for Sandro that there is no further consequences. He has suffered during this period,” Howe said at his pre-match press conference, ahead of facing West Ham, on whether Tonali would receive a longer suspension.

“That illness didn’t stop when he moved to England and people should look at it that way, not let’s throw the book at him and punish him even further because I don’t think that gets to the root of the problem.

“He has seeked [out] help. He has been very honest with us. He has admitted he has an issue. The best thing for Sandro would be for him to resume his career having taken his punishment and learnt a lot of lessons from this.

“It might have been a surprise externally, but not for us (on Tonali’s additional charges). He is seeking help on a regular basis. This is something that will not be going away. He has regular meetings both here and an Italy to deal with it.

 

“He has trained really well, and his English has improved. He has the support of his team-mates. I am positive about his comeback whenever that is.”

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