The Italian defensive midfielder, Sandro Tonali, has recently been banned from all formats of competitive football until 27th August 2024 for major gambling offences, after just having signed for his new club Newcastle United in the summer and had looked to partake a key role in the team.

Tonali has signed from AC Milan in the summer during the 2023 transfer window for a fee of £55m. The 23-year-old is now set to miss the remainder of his season with his new club after being banned for 10 months meaning that he is set to also miss Italy's Euro 2024 campaign and potentially the finals, should they qualify for it.

He had brilliant performances for his former club, accumulating 9 G/A in 34 matches, which is impressive for the typical 'CDM' style of play he adopts. Others such as Rodrigo Hernandez from Manchester City had accumulated a total of 8 G/A in the 2023/4 season over a 36 match period in the Premier League. His performances for his new club Newcastle United were also nothing short of brilliant as he scored in his Premier League debut in the 6th minute in a 5-1 win over Aston Villa. He was also a pivotal player in their early Premier League campaign, giving solidity to the backline and also providing the attack with through balls to target.

However, his campaign was struck by the exposure of his gambling addiction and the shocking behaviour of both him and other players worldwide. One of these is Nicolas Fagioli who had five months of a one-year ban suspended and was fined 12,500 euros (£10,848), while he agreed to a therapy plan of at least six months to tackle his gambling problem, the FIGC announced. The Brentford striker Ivan Toney was suspended for eight months in May after breaches of the English FA’s betting rules and diagnosed with a gambling addiction. He is set to return to Brentford’s attack in January when he will be expected to wear a shirt advertising a gambling sponsor.

Tonali’s agent, Giuseppe Riso, has said his client has a gambling problem and faces “the biggest challenge” of a hitherto gilded career. “Sandro is shocked,” Riso said. “He knows he has made a mistake. I hope this experience will help save his life and also the life of others with the same addictions.” Tonali admitted that he had bet, that he had bet on football and that he had gambled on Milan, and probably also for Brescia at the time when he played for them.

Some can also say and put suspicions on the acts of AC Milan, who may have knowingly sold a key midfielder to a team in the same UEFA Champions League group as them, perhaps to hinder their performances and improve their own chances of making it into the Round of 16. However and most importantly, no evidence for AC Milan knowing of Tonali's gambling issue has emerged yet.

Many footballers, such as Sandro Tonali, Ivan Toney and Nicolas Fagioli have been prosecuted due to their gambling addictions. Should authorities and support groups be helping up and coming stars and even young and aspiring footballers to cope with such issues?