Sandro Tonali suspended for 10 months for illegal sports betting

November 6, 2023

A few days after his compatriot Nicolò Fagioli was suspended for seven months, and pending the verdict on Nicolò Zaniolo, it was Sandro Tonali’s turn to receive a heavy suspension. Tonali, the most expensive Italian football player, has been banned for 10 months from any football-related activities by the Italian Football Federation and will be expected to follow an 8-month recovery program.

What are the applicable regulations on sports betting for football players? Are there any clauses prohibiting players from betting in their employment contracts or labour agreements?

Applicable regulations RBFA Art. B4.19 + B11.140 (Federal Regulations of the Royal Belgian Football Association)

  • Prohibition for any person to take part in any game of chance if that person can directly influence its outcome, at the risk of a criminal sanction.

Applicable regulations FIFA Code of Ethics Art. 27

  • Prohibition for players from participating– and having a financial interest, either directly or indirectly, in betting, gambling, lotteries or similar events or transactions related to football matches or competitions and/or any related football activities.
  • Violation can be sanctioned with fines of at least CHF 100,000 and a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for a maximum of 3 years.

Employment contract clauses (Belgian employment law and contract clauses)

  • It is often explicitly prohibited in an employment contract to participate in bets of any nature on football matches of the club or of other clubs/sports, and this in the broadest meaning.
  • Non-respect of this obligation will as a consequence be considered as a serious infraction rendering a future cooperation between the parties impossible.
  • Labour regulations also regularly include a provision whereby the employment contract can be terminated without notice if there is just cause to do so.
  • That may include taking part by the employee in gambling at home or abroad, either directly or indirectly through an intermediary, in which it is possible to bet on results of his employer ‘ s matches as well as on all other matches of the competition in which his employer’s club competes.


Participating in sports betting puts you at risk of suspension, fines, dismissal to even criminal penalties.