Paolo Di Canio has called Newcastle's Sandro Tonali 'stupid' after the midfielder admitted to gambling on matches.
The 23-year-old, an Italy international, faces a ban from the sport for a breach of betting rules after his agent Guiseppe Riso admitted that he was working through an addiction.
The Italian Football Federation opened an investigation into both Tonali and Aston Villa's Nicolo Zaniolo after their prosecutors announced possible breaches by Juventus star Nicolo Fagioli. Former West Ham icon and Sunderland boss Di Canio, 55, has now had his say – and hasn't held back.
READ MORE: Sandro Tonali admits betting on AC Milan games as Newcastle star faces huge ban
STATEMENT: Newcastle United release Sandro Tonali statement in relation to illegal betting investigation
Speaking on Sky Calcio Club, as quoted by Calciomercato, Di Canio said while looking down the lens: "Give me a fixed camera. You are idiots!
"If you bet on football you're empty, you're stupid. There's no need to justify those who bet!"
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who has battled a gambling addiction, wrote on X: "Just want to wish Sandro Tonali all the best from this horrible addiction."
The details of alleged breaches have not been fully disclosed, with a 36-month suspension a potential punishment for placing bets via 'unlicensed online outlets'.
Guiseppe Riso, speaking at an event at the Italian embassy last week, said: He is playing his most important game – against betting addiction.
"He’s in shock, he’s very sad. He has to face this situation. He is training at the moment (at Newcastle). He told me he trained very well. He can play Saturday.”
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FIFA's stance on players betting on football states: "They are forbidden from participating in, either directly or indirectly, betting, gambling, lotteries or similar events or transactions related to football matches or competitions and/or any related football activities."
Tonali could be handed a shorter ban than the maximum punishment after admitting his guilt, having joined Newcastle for £55million from AC Milan in the summer.
The playmaker has continued training with Newcastle before he finds out his punishment, coming off the bench in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.
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