|Villa's Nicolo Zaniolo and Newcastle's Sandro Tonali have both been withdrawn from the Italian national team following police investigations into betting allegations against the two. (Photo credit: BBC)|
The duo of Newcastle United’s Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo of Aston Villa have both been dropped from the Italian national team for this window of international football due to a police probe into betting allegations against the two players.
The Italian football authority was informed of police involvement in the case against the duo and duly withdrew them. They have both returned to the UK to answer questions regarding breaches of betting rules and if found guilty, they could both be handed hefty bans.
Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli confirmed two days ago that he is under investigation by the police for the same offense, and at the top of the allegation against him by the Turin prosecutors is his alleged involvement in unauthorized website betting.
"Regardless of the nature of the events, considering that the two players are not in the necessary condition to face the matches scheduled for the next few days, the federation has decided, also for their protection, to allow them to return to their respective clubs," the federation said in a statement.
Italy is set to face Malta on Saturday before squaring up against England in a European Championship qualifying game three days later. Tonali and Zaniolo will not be part of these games, having been handed over to investigators by the Italian football authority.
Tonali joined Newcastle from AC Milan last summer and is still settling into life in England, while Zaniolo joined Aston Villa on loan from AS Roma and has already shown Unai Emery and the Villa faithful what he can bring to the table.