Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon has come out in defence of compatriots Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Fagioli, who are serving bans over betting breaches.

Gianluigi Buffon Insists That 'Betting Is Not A Crime'
Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Fagioli

The Newcastle midfielder was handed a mammoth 10-month ban from football over betting on games he had played in with AC Milan.


Juventus star Fagioli was also punished for placing bets on illegal platforms, which secured him a seven-month ban and €12,500 (£11,000/$13,000) fine.

Gianluigi Buffon has jumped to the defence of both players, highlighting the systemic issues within the game and just how deeply entrenched betting is in it.


Speaking to Corriere della Sera the legendary goalkeeper said: “This is a very sensitive issue.

“I think it is wrong to criminalise and not to make distinctions.


“Betting in itself is not a crime.

“The stadiums themselves and sports broadcasts are full of App advertisements of this kind, and the state encourages gambling.

“If, on the other hand, a footballer bets on football, he faces punishment, and rightly so; but if he bets on volleyball, basketball, dog racing… he is not committing a crime.

“And it gets worse when people talk about gambling, again missing the point.


“Gambling is not a problem of how much you spend, but of the time you devote to this activity.

“And we have to explain this to the children: it is not that if you make continuous 1 euro bets by spending hours and hours in front of the App, then it is OK; whereas if one spends 1 million on one occasion then he is a gambler.


“We can say he’s a moron, that’s fine; but the disease stems from the addiction, the continuity with which one does something.”

Betting Scandal

Buffon was involved in a betting scandal during his own playing days, being accused of betting on five Juventus matches between 2004 and 2005.

The veteran shot stopper was eventually cleared despite a torrent of negative press, a tendency he has since called out.

“I don’t like bigots who judge with an aberrant superficiality without really knowing what the motives are,” Buffon added.

“I’ve been there myself.

“Being muddied without having committed anything.

“When things are cleared up, you forget to explain and apologise and leave people with a label on them.

“I find that deeply wrong.”

Buffon’s words, particularly regarding the entrenchment of betting in the modern game, ring true at a time when multiple players have been caught breaking the law.

Brentford’s Ivan Toney is only just about to return having served an eight-month ban of his own, after he admitted to 232 breaches of the English FA’s betting rules.

Read more: Cristiano Ronaldo Sets Himself An Ambitious Target

The England star scored 21 goals in 35 appearances for the Bees last term.

However, this could see him secure a move away from the club despite his lengthy ban.

While Tonali and Fagioli weren’t as fortunate as Buffon to escape punishment, it is believed that the pair’s cooperation reduced their sentences down from a three-year ban.

Both Italian stars will now undergo a rehabilitation programme before their respective returns to action.

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