Juventus coach Conte banned for match-fixing

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Juventus on Friday announced their “full support” for coach Antonio Conte and said they were preparing an appeal, after the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) banned him for 10 months as part of a match-fixing investigation.

Conte and his assistant Angelo Alessio, who was suspended for eight months, were sanctioned for failing to disclose knowledge of two fixed matches while they worked at Siena during Italian Serie B 2010-2011 season.

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, however, was cleared of wrong-doing in relation to a match against Udinese in May 2010 when he was playing for Bari. Team-mate Simone Pepe was also cleared.

Italian Serie A 2011-2012 champions said they were “extremely satisfied” with Bonucci and Pepe’s acquittals and underlined “its full support for Antonio Conte and Angelo Alessio, in the hope that their innocence will emerge during the appeals process”.

“The coaches’ legal team, comprising professionals chosen by the interested parties themselves in complete agreement with the club, is already drawing up the grounds for appeal, in the firm belief that the coaches had no involvement in the matter,” the Turin club said on their website.

The ruling comes just over two weeks from the start of the Serie A 2012-2013 season, leaving Juventus potentially manager-less for the new campaign.

Conte and Alessio have five days to lodge their appeal before the federal court but the ban will stay in place until the court judgement, an FIGC spokesman told AFP.

A speedy resolution to the case, possibly before the start of the season, was “in the interest of all parties”, the spokesman added.

The “Calcioscommesse” or football betting scandal has rocked the Italian game and cast a shadow over Italy’s preparations for the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine when police raided the team’s training camp.

The investigation centred on a number of players suspected of having been targeted by illegal betting syndicates to fix matches, and led to a number of enquiries and arrests of players, including Lazio captain Stefano Mauri.

Mauri, whose room was searched at the Italy training camp, was forced to withdraw from Cesare Prandelli’s Euro 2012 squad, although Bonucci remained part of the team and started in the final, which the Azzurri lost to defending champions Spain.

Bonucci, 25, joined Juventus in 2010 and in April extended his contract at the Turin club until 2017. He began his career at Inter Milan and played for Treviso and Pisa before moving to Bari.

Prosecutors had asked for him to be banned for three-and-a-half years.

The wave of arrests over the last year came six years after the “Calciopoli” match-fixing scandal, which saw Juventus stripped of two Serie A titles for trying to influence refereeing appointments.

Prosecutors requested a 15-month ban for Conte and Alessio for not alerting football’s authorities to irregularities in the second tier Serie B games between Novara and AlbinoLeffe.

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli issued a sharp reaction to the requests, saying that the FIGC was “operating outside all logic”.

The FIGC said in a statement on its website, figc.it, that it had docked points and fined a number of the 13 clubs under investigation and had also imposed suspensions on dozens of the 45 players implicated.

Serie B sides Lecce and Grosseto were demoted, while Lecce’s former president Giovanni Semeraro and ex-Grosseto president Piero Camilli were given five-year bans from the game.

Siena have accepted a six-point deduction for the new season and a 100,000-euro (79,000 pounds, US$123,000) fine.

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