Italian Football Shaken by Betting Scandal Involving Fagioli, Tonali, and Zaniolo: Key Details

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Italian Football Shaken by Betting Scandal Involving Fagioli, Tonali, and Zaniolo: Key Details

Italian football is currently facing its most significant betting scandal in nearly two decades. Numerous players stand accused of placing bets on soccer matches, and this situation has far-reaching implications, including for the Italian national team. To understand the individuals involved and the potential repercussions they might encounter, Eurosport presents answers to the most critical inquiries.

17 years after Juventus Turin's forced relegation, Italian soccer is once again rocked by scandal.

The public prosecutor's office searched premises, and two players even had to leave the Squadra Azzurra before the European Championship qualifiers.

Several former soccer greats, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andrea Barzagli, commented on the issue.

Eurosport answers the most pressing questions surrounding the scandal.

1. WHAT HAPPENED?

The Turin prosecutor's office has already been investigating Nicolò Fagioli of Juventus Turin, Sandro Tonali of Newcastle United and Aston Villa's Nicolò Zaniolo since August on initial suspicion of sports betting fraud. The three players allegedly placed bets on illegal sites.

Last week, Fagioli confessed to betting on soccer matches in the process. The Juventus pro provided information that led investigators to question Tonali and Zaniolo on 12. October to question Tonali and Zaniolo. The Newcastle pro allegedly sent Fagioli the betting app in question.

Tonali and Zaniolo were still with the Italian national team at the time, but were released by coach Luciano Spalletti when the allegations came to light.

"Regardless of the nature of the investigation," the players were "not in shape for the tasks ahead in this situation," the statement from the Italian federation FIGC said.

Tonali is said to be ready to confess and has also announced he will seek therapy to deal with his gambling addiction, Italian media said.

Zaniolo denies accusations of betting on soccer matches. Instead, the England legionnaire claims to have played only blackjack and poker online.

2. HOW DOES THE ITALIAN FEDERATION REACT?

The FIGC is taking an active role. In cooperation with the prosecutor's office, the federation's own investigation office, which is also too permanent for imposing suspensions, has conducted its own investigations, which have already resulted in an interview with Fagioli.

In the coming days, his co-accused will also be questioned by the investigators of the Italian Football Federation. In an appearance on the sidelines of a sports festival in Trento, Gabriele Garavina, president of the FIGC, was obviously trying to limit the damage.

On the one hand, he condemned gambling in principle as a "social plague" that must be eradicated. On the other hand, Garavina also described the accusations against gamblers as "unforeseeable," while praising the work of the association's bodies.

3. WHAT CONSEQUENCES DO THE PLAYERS FACE?
The criminal consequences for the trio are probably rather manageable. According to all that is known so far, the players face a maximum fine.

The situation is different, however, when it comes to the sporting consequences. The rules and regulations in Italy clearly prohibit players from betting on matches organized by the FIGC, the European Football Association UEFA or the World Football Association FIFA.

Violations of these rules are subject to suspensions of at least three years. The penalty could even be extended if the player bet on matches in which his own club was involved.

However, it is also possible to reduce the sentence if the accused cooperates with investigators. If a plea bargain is reached in the criminal proceedings, the ban can be halved.

In the specific cases, however, it is not yet clear what penalties the individual players will face. While Fagioli's cooperation is likely to have resulted in a significant reduction in his punishment, Tonali could receive a much longer ban, which would also apply to the Premier League if he is convicted.

English international striker Ivan Toney (Brentford FC), for example, was banned for eight months in March this year for a total of 232 breaches of the English FA's betting rules. He was also fined 57,000 euros.
The situation with Zaniolo is more complicated, as he denies the charges. If his version were to be believed, his behavior would probably have no sporting consequences from the Italian side.

4. WERE GAMES MANIPULATED?

So far, there are no indications that matches have been manipulated by the accused.

5. ITALIAN SOCCER HAS A BIGGER PROBLEM
Former paparazzo and convicted blackmailer Fabrizio Corona was the first to report on the betting scandal.
In doing so, he hinted that Fagioli, Tonali and Zaniolo were just the tip of the iceberg. The 49-year-old also announced that more names would be published in the near future.

The chat records of the trio are expected to be pivotal in the ongoing investigation. The involvement of other players remains uncertain at this time.

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