Court rejects Juventus coach Conte’s plea bargain for match-fixing
Italy’s soccer federation on Wednesday rejected a three-month ban for Juventus coach Antonio Conte for match-fixing under a proposed plea bargain, forcing him to propose a longer ban or face a full sporting trial.
Conte, who led Juventus to the Serie A title last season, is accused of failing to report match-fixing in two games in the 2010-11 season when he was coach of Siena, then in Serie B.
Conte, who originally denied all the allegations, changed strategy in recent weeks and tried to reach a deal with federation prosecutor Stefano Palazzi under which he would accept a three-month ban and avoid going to court.
However, the soccer federation’s disciplinary committee ruled after a hearing on Wednesday that the proposal agreed with Palazzi, which would have allowed Conte to return to Juventus’s bench in November, was not acceptable.
Now Conte will either have to propose a new deal including a longer ban or face a sports tribunal which could hand down a much tougher penalty if he is found guilty.
The matches involved in the charges were between Novara and Siena in May 2011, which ended 2-2, and between Albinoleffe and Siena in the same month which ended in a 1-0 defeat for Siena.
In total, 13 clubs and 45 players and training staff are facing disciplinary charges over the match-fixing allegations.
The “Calcioscommesse” scandal echoes earlier match-fixing cases which tarnished Italian soccer in the 1980s and before the 2006 World Cup.
Prosecutors believe an international gambling ring paid players to throw matches in the latest scandal. Dozens of current and former players in teams ranging from the Serie A top division down to the lower leagues may have been involved, according to investigators.