Juventus Star Nicolo Fagioli Gets Seven-Month Ban Over €3M Illegal Gambling Habit

Posted on: October 18, 2023, 12:47h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2023, 09:10h.

Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli will miss the rest of the Serie A soccer season after the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) handed him a seven-month ban for betting on games.

Nicolo Fagiolo, Nicolò Zaniolo, Sandro Tonali, Juventus
Nicolo Fagiolo, above, told prosecutors he was €3 million in debt to illegal online gambling websites, which authorities suspect of links to organized crime. (Image: Getty)

A rising star of Italian soccer, the 22-year-old’s gambling habits were uncovered as part of a police investigation into illegal online gambling with links to organized crime. Sandro Tonali and Nicolò Zaniolo are also embroiled. They missed Italy’s 3-1 defeat to England Tuesday night after police turned to question them at the Italy training camp.

Newcastle Utd. Midfielder Tonali has admitted to betting on soccer games via an illegal platform. Zaniolo, who plays for Aston Villa, has denied betting on games. He said he played poker and blackjack on sites he didn’t know were illegal, according to Italian media.

None of the players involved are accused of having links to the alleged criminal elements behind the illegal gambling operations.

Commuted Sentence

In a statement, the FIGC said it had commuted Fagioli’s sentence from 12 months to seven after the player agreed to a five-year treatment plan to help fight gambling addiction. The plea deal will be terminated should the player fail to stick to the program.

Fagioli didn’t bet on games he was involved in. Still, he reportedly told the Turin Prosecutor’s Office in June 2023 that he had amassed debts of €3 million ($3.2 million) and was receiving payment demands that involved threats and abuse.

Figlioli claimed he received the addresses of the gambling websites from Tonali, according to local reports.

Mafia Links?

Over the past few years, Italian authorities have regularly uncovered illegal online sports betting operations run by Mafia syndicates, such as the Cosa Nostra, the ‘Ndrangheta, and the Camorra. Many of these operations have been based and even licensed in Malta.

In 2021, Italian authorities launched “Operation Double Game,” a crackdown on illegal gambling and organized crime.

Pogba ‘Doping’ Scandal

Figlioli’s ban comes as another blow to Juventus, a club still reeling from the suspension last month of Paul Pogba for failing a drug test.

The France international was selected for random testing on August 20. The result showed increased levels of testosterone in his system. It was confirmed last week that Pogba’s B sample also tested positive.

Pogba denies doping. If found guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs, he could be banned for two to four years, a penalty ending the 30-year-old’s career.