Eddie Howe continues to back Sandro Tonali

Paul Merson hits out at length of Sandro Tonali's ban

News that Newcastle United ace Sandro Tonali had been charged this week by the FA for further betting breaches, which had occurred during his time at the Premier League club, will likely have come as quite the shock to Magpies supporters.

During his pre-match press conference for the game against West Ham, Eddie Howe met the questions from reporters – which included representatives from CaughtOffside – head on, and appeared to throw down the gauntlet to the powers that be.

Eddie Howe doesn’t want to see Sandro Tonali’s ban increased

“Sandro, from day one, co-operated and was very honest with the club, with us and the authorities about what he had done and the issues that he had,” he said when asked about what happens next.

“I certainly hope for Sandro that there is no further consequences. He has suffered during this period, he has sought help, he has been very honest, he’s admitted that he has an issue and I think the best thing for Sandro would be to resume his career having taken his punishment and having learned a lot of lessons from this.”

It was clear from Howe’s tone and demeanour that he doesn’t expect the authorities to punish the Italian star more than he has been already.

Football is a game that appears to have a real problem with gambling too – Ivan Toney being another player to have recently fallen foul of the FA’s rules – and yet shirts are plastered with betting company logos and stadiums have perimeter ads that advertise those same companies.

The Premier League seemingly can’t live without the financial backing that the betting companies give to them, but if players at their member clubs spend their free time using those same companies, they are severely punished.

Newcastle ace Sandro Tonali won’t be playing football again until next season

Whilst Howe hasn’t directly challenged the FA over Tonali, he has made a point of the issue being an illness.

Former professional, Paul Merson, a gambler himself for long periods of his career, is also of the opinion that to punish players in the manner than Toney and Tonali have been is counter-productive.

“People have no respect for the gambling addiction,” he said on the Sacked in the Morning podcast (h/t BBC Sport).

“We’ve seen that with the bans of Sandro Tonali at Newcastle and Ivan Toney at Brentford.

“To give people 10-month bans for an addiction that is ravaging…

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