Sandro Tonali

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has admitted the club were expecting Sandro Tonali to be charged by the Football Association over further betting breaches.

Tonali, who is serving a ten-month ban for gambling offences during his time in Italy, was charged on Thursday for making a further 50 bets between August and October 2023 – the last of which came on the day he was first interviewed by police while away on international duty with Italy.

The midfielder is now facing the risk of an extended ban if the FA choose to inflict further punishment, and Howe admits he does not know what the future holds for Tonali.

“It was no surprise to us,” Howe said. “Sandro from day one cooperated and was very honest with us, the club, and the authorities, what he has done and what happened. It was no surprise and we have been supporting him through this process.

“We don’t know [if the ban will be extended] is the honest answer. I certainly hope for Sandro that there is no further consequences. He has suffered during this period, he’s seeked help, he’s been very honest, admitted he has an issue and the best thing for Sandro would be to resume his career having taken his punishment and learned a lot of lesson.

“You can’t quantify how much we’ve missed him this season. It’s been frustrating beyond belief. If that ban was extended, we would still be feeling that pain and so would Sandro. He wants to play football.”

Sandro Tonali

Tonali made 12 appearances for Newcastle before his ban / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

During his suspension, Tonali has been free to train with Newcastle and has also been working on his English, with a view to being ready to help the team as soon as his ban comes to an end.

As it stands, Tonali’s ban will expire in August 2024, but he could face further time on the sidelines if the FA choose to extend his suspension.

Tonali’s absence has hurt a Newcastle side who have battled injuries all season. In midfield, Joelinton underwent surgery on his groin in January and may not return this season, while young Lewis Miley is now out with an injury picked up on international duty.

“Lewis has come back to us with a back problem, we are seeking specialist opinion on him, we don’t know exactly what it is right now,” Howe explained.

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