Newcastle United’s manager, Eddie Howe, has revealed that there is a “high chance” Sandro Tonali could still feature in their upcoming match against Wolves this Saturday, despite the midfielder receiving a 10-month ban from Italy’s football federation.
This unusual situation has arisen due to the slow process of FIFA ratifying the Italian sanction, which could take hours or, in theory, weeks.
“I think there’s a high chance Sandro could be available for us at Wolves,” said Howe. “We are in the dark while we wait for that official confirmation.”
The Italian federation recently announced that Tonali had violated a rule prohibiting footballers from betting on matches.
As a result, they implemented an 18-month disqualification from playing football, with the final eight months commuted to a “therapeutic plan” to help the 23-year-old recover from a gambling addiction.
Depending on when FIFA ratifies the sanction, Tonali could miss the remainder of this season, returning to the team in late August or early September next year.
Reports in Italy suggest he might be allowed to train with Newcastle during his suspension, but this remains uncertain.
Howe acknowledged the challenges Tonali will face during this time and emphasized the need for a resilient squad. “It’s a valuable lesson. It’s a part of life and football.
We require a team strong enough to handle these situations,” he remarked.
Regarding criticism of Newcastle’s due diligence in signing Tonali, Howe defended the club’s decision. “We could never have known, under any circumstances.
You sincerely sign a document. Every player will always carry some level of danger, the speaker said.
The uncertainty surrounding Tonali’s availability highlights the complexities of international football sanctions and their impact on club football.
Newcastle and Tonali must now await FIFA’s decision, which could determine whether he steps onto the pitch at Wolves this Saturday.