Newcastle United could take legal action against AC Milan after Sandro Tonali was handed a 10-month suspension from all football for ten months, but their chances of victory would be slim.
The 23-year-old’s ban was confirmed by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) on Thursday, meaning he will not be eligible to play again until next August, ruling him out of Euro 2024 should Italy qualify.
The decision follows the seven-month ban handed to Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli for betting breaches last week.
Tonali and Aston Villa player Nicolo Zaniolo were forced to leave Italy’s training camp on 12 October after being told they were involved in an investigation by Italian prosecutors.
Newcastle bought Tonali from AC Milan in the summer in a deal worth £55 million, but questions remain about how much the Italian club knew about Tonali’s betting practices before selling him. Corriere dello Sport claim that the Magpies have warned them they may pursue them in the courts over the matter.
However, there is no suggestion that Milan were aware of Tonali’s activities and it would be difficult for Newcastle to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. At least one legal expert has described it as a “long shot” if the club were to take legal action.
Last week manager Eddie Howe said: “As a football club we will throw our arms around Sandro and protect him and try to give him the love and support he needs to find solutions to the problems he’s had. We see him being part our team for many years. We are committed to him long term.”
Tonali has made 12 appearances under Howe, including Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Uefa Champions League.