Wolves Manager Addresses Gambling in Football as Newcastle Player Receives Lengthy Ban
Gary O’Neil, the manager of Wolves, is of the opinion that football has a duty to shield players from the risks associated with gambling. Reports from Italy indicate that Sandro Tonali of Newcastle has been slapped with a 10-month ban from football for admitting to violating betting regulations. The Italian Football Federation, led by Gabriele Gravina, has disclosed that they have come to an agreement with Tonali. In addition to the 10-month ban, he will undergo an eight-month rehabilitation program and must participate in a series of public events.
This suspension would see the 23-year-old, who was acquired for £55 million from AC Milan in the summer, sidelined for the remainder of Newcastle’s season and potentially Italy’s Euro 2024 finals campaign if they secure qualification. Meanwhile, Nicolo Zaniolo, on loan from Aston Villa, is cooperating with Italian authorities in their investigation, denying any involvement in football betting. Juventus’ Nicolo Fagioli has also received a seven-month ban.
Ivan Toney, the Brentford striker, is currently serving a playing suspension for betting until January. Nottingham Forest’s Harry Toffolo received a suspended five-month ban for 375 rule violations.
Gary O’Neil, who played alongside Paul Merson, a recovering gambling addict, at Walsall and Portsmouth, stressed the need for support for young players in dealing with gambling-related challenges. He highlighted that during his playing days, there was a prevalent gambling culture in the dressing room, which may have influenced young players. O’Neil expressed the importance of educating players about the potential consequences gambling can have on their lives, finances, and rule compliance.
He emphasized the need to make players aware of the financial impact of excessive gambling and the importance of offering support to understand the implications. O’Neil acknowledged that gambling is widespread and that complete eradication is unlikely, making education and awareness crucial.
He said, ” You must know that gambling is forbidden for you as a proffessional footballer as it has relatively harsh impact on you.”
Wolves, led by O’Neil, are scheduled to face Newcastle in a Premier League match at Molineux on Saturday.