Zaniolo expected to be available for Villa despite betting probe

Nicolo Zaniolo is set to be available for Aston Villa’s clash against West Ham, despite winger facing questions by authorities over his role in Italian betting scandal

  • The betting scandal has rocked Italian football with an investigation ongoing 
  • Nicolo Fagioli received a seven-month ban and additional rehabilitory measures 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

Aston Villa expect Nicolo Zaniolo to be available for Sunday’s clash with West Ham with the winger set to be questioned by authorities about the illegal betting scandal in Italian football. 

Zaniolo has held talks with Villa officials and has resumed training, with Unai Emery preparing his side to return to Premier League action on Sunday after the international break. 

Zaniolo and Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali departed the Italy squad last week after investigators interviewed them at the team’s training base near Florence, and neither featured in Italy’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and England. 

The Newcastle midfielder admitted on Tuesday to placing bets on former club AC Milan to win games, at a hearing in Turin, and faces a lengthy ban. 

Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli has already been suspended for seven months as part of the same operation. 

Aston Villa expect Nicolo Zaniolo to be available for Sunday’s clash with West Ham despite the ongoing police investigation into alledged illegal betting

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery (left) has handed the 24-year-old three starts in the Premier League since his signing from Galatasaray in the summer

Nicolo Fagioli received a seven-month ban after reaching a similar plea bargain on Tuesday 

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Sandro Tonali could face a possible 12-month ban from football after cooperating with Italian authorities in their investigation into illegal gambling

Under Italian regulations athletes are forbidden from betting on the sports in which they participate. 

Zaniolo says he has not taken part in illegal betting. The 24-year-old’s lawyer Gianluca Tognozzi said: ‘Nicolo has never bet. He’s told me as much. 

‘It’s possible that he played card games like poker and blackjack on illegal platforms, without ever knowing what they were. We will make everything clear.’ 

Villa are following the case closely and will continue to consider Zaniolo available unless the situation in Italy changes. Zaniolo is currently on loan at Villa from Galatasaray. 

The deal comes with an option to buy him at the end of the season, which will become an obligation after Zaniolo has hit certain targets. He has so far played nine times, without scoring. 


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