Sandro Tonali's 'good faith' gesture as Newcastle United request revealed after 10-month ban

Newcastle United midfielder Sandro TonaliNewcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali
Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali | Getty Images
Sandro Tonali requested to take a pay-cut at Newcastle United after his 10-month betting ban.

Eddie Howe has revealed Sandro Tonali voluntary took a pay cut at Newcastle United after being banned from football for 10 months because of illegal betting offences.

The Italian was handed the punishment by the Italian Football Federation in October but was spared a longer ban this week after the FA gave him a two-month suspended sentence. It means Tonali, who joined from AC Milan for £52million last summer, will be free to resume his career at the end of August.

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“It’s the right decision that the ban isn’t extended,” said Howe. “Sandro’s currently working hard behind the scenes, he’s trained very well. But as always as I’ve said many times referring to this situation, we’re still supporting him and helping him as he serves this time.

Sandro Tonali plays alongside Federico Chiesa at international levelSandro Tonali plays alongside Federico Chiesa at international level
Sandro Tonali plays alongside Federico Chiesa at international level | Getty Images

“He’s been very good [mentally], very consistent. Of course I see a small fraction of his life, I see the time he’s at the training ground and he’s a very good professional, he’s trained very well. He’s still relatively quiet in the group but I think that’s his personality, and that’s not in a negative way, he’s just focused on his football and improving his game.

“You wouldn’t necessarily see what’s going on beneath the surface, and I’m sure he’s had really difficult moments in the last few months. He’s probably had days where he’s had days worse than others but he’s conducted himself in a really positive way.”

The FA report stated “Sandro has provided by self-referring and fully cooperating with a subsequent investigation is extraordinary and unprecedented.” Howe added: “He instantly, when this whole thing started, he was very keen to hold his hands up and help everybody sort of uncover it all and yeah, he was very story for what he’d done.

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“He admitted he had issues and needed help. I think he deserves credit for that because it’s not easy when you’re in that situation to help the authorities when you’ve done something wrong.

“That’s certainly helped him in this process, I think, and I’m sure it’s helped him mentally as well to deal with what's happened, put it behind him and try and look to a new phase in his life.”

Because of the “guilt” Tonali felt from the suspension just 12 games into his Newcastle career, the 23-year-old wanted to take a pay-cut, according to Howe.

The Magpies boss revealed: “It was something he wanted to do. He felt the guilt and he felt that joining a new club, that was something he wanted to show the club in good faith that he was sorry and he was determined to put it behind him and try to learn from it, so all really good signs, I think, for the future for us that we've got a very good human being in the football club and someone that's keen now to, as a I say, put it behind him and try to show all the good that he can do for Newcastle United.”

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Tonali is due to return on August 27 in what will be Newcastle’s third game of the 2024-25 Premier League season. But Howe hopes the midfielder can play in non-competitive matches before then, including the visit to Australia to face Tottenham Hotspur later this month.

Newcastle, however, are “awaiting clarity”, not just on the trip down but pre-season too, where Howe’s men are expected to fly to Toyko for a commercial-driven tour.

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