Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali and Aston Villa striker Nicolò Zaniolo were sent home from the Italian national team camp Thursday and will not feature in upcoming games on Saturday against Malta and Tuesday against England.
The two were questioned by the Italian authorities and received formal investigation paperwork from the Turin Public Prosecutor's Office over alleged betting breaches, according to multiple reports in Italy.
The Italian FA issued the following statement: "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. 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."
Italy coach Luciano Spalletti spoke about it on Friday before the game against Malta: "We will support them but it's correct to let them leave our camp after speaking to police yesterday. If they have committed irregularities, it is absolutely right to proceed with the investigation".
The investigation became public on Tuesday when Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli was investigated for alleged betting breaches on illegal platforms by the prosecutor of Turin. The investigation originally stems from the Turin prosecutor regarding gambling through illegal online platforms. Investigators have scanned accesses, data and transactions and Fagioli has emerged as one of the suspected individuals, leading to the investigation.
Juventus issued a statement on Friday and became the first club to speak on the matter: "Regarding what was has been reported by several media outlets, Juventus FC specifies that as soon as it received news of the possible involvement of player Nicolò Fagioli in the matter of betting, it immediately and promptly contacted the FIGC Federal Prosecutor's Office."
On Thursday, Fabrizio Corona reported that both Zaniolo and Tonali were also involved in the case, and few hours after the Italian authorities questioned the two soccer stars. The Italian FA, right after the meeting, decided to send the players back to their respective clubs. On Friday, Sky Italy reported that more Serie A players are also part of the investigation.
Tonali moved from AC Milan to Newcastle in the summer 2023 for €70 million plus €5 million in add-ons while Zaniolo moved to Aston Villa on loan with option to buy included in the deal from Galatasaray.