Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali’s 10-month ban from football for betting violations has been ratified by FIFA with immediate effect.
The midfielder will not be available for Newcastle’s Premier League match at Wolves on Saturday – live on Sky Sports.
Eddie Howe, the Newcastle boss, had expected to have Tonali available at Molineux on Friday morning, before FIFA approved the request of Italian authorities to uphold his punishment worldwide.
“We’ve not had anything from the Italian authorities so we are waiting for that official confirmation to come through,” said Howe. “There’s a high chance he could be available for us. A few things need to happen before the ban is imposed, so let’s see.”
Tonali has admitted to betting on matches in Italy as an AC Milan player. His co-operation in the investigation by Turin prosecutors helped the 23-year-old to avoid a potential three-year ban.
The Italy international will not be allowed to play football again until late August next year, meaning he will miss Euro 2024 and the start of next season for Newcastle.
Tonali must also attend treatment sessions for problem gamblers and give a series of talks about his experience over a further eight-month period as part of his deal with Italian authorities.
Sky Sports News understands the PFA are working with the player.
Howe says he has not made plans to dip into the transfer market in January to find a temporary replacement for Tonali, who was signed in the summer from AC Milan for £55m.
“I’ll have an eye on it and we’ll have an idea but we’re going to have to be adjustable,” Howe said.
“The picture can look very different when January comes. At the moment, our attacking resources are stretched but who is to say what we may need come the end of December. It’s difficult to assess right now.”
Howe made it clear the wellbeing of Tonali will be at the forefront of his mind over the next 10 months.
“It’ll be very difficult for him as it will be monotonous,” he added. “It’s going to be a challenge for us to make sure he comes out of the period a better player than the one he is now.
“No one knows away from the football pitch how hard this can be for young players.”