Antonio Conte (Reuters) - Reuters
 
Football > Serie A

Juventus plan to appeal Conte ban

Juventus plan to appeal Conte ban

By Eurosport
Last update The 11/08/2012 at 09:20 -
By Eurosport - The 11/08/2012 at 09:20
Juventus coach Antonio Conte was banned for 10 months over a match-fixing scandal on Friday, plunging the Serie A champions into a fresh crisis only months after they had finally recovered from a similar affair in 2006.
 

Italy and Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, who had faced a possible three-and-a-half-year ban, was, however, acquitted by an Italian football federation tribunal along with team mate Simone Pepe.

Conte, who led an undefeated Juventus to the Italian title in his first season in charge last term, was accused of failing to report incidents of match-fixing in two games in the 2010-11 season when he was the coach of then Serie B side Siena.

His assistant at Siena and Juventus, Angelo Alessio, was banned for eight months, FIGC said in a statement which listed the sanctions and acquittals from a long-running sporting probe into illegal betting in a raft of Italian matches.

The Siena matches that came under scrutiny were against Novara and Albinoleffe in May 2011. Siena had already been fined.

Conte's original plea-bargain of a three-month ban and a fine of 200,000 euros ($246,200) had been rejected by the Federation's disciplinary commission and after not being able to agree on revised terms, he opted to go to the sporting trial.

Juventus said Conte, who will now have to sit out Saturday's Italian Super Cup match with Napoli in Beijing, would appeal and sporting director Beppe Marotta said he had not even considered replacing the former midfielder as coach.

"Our defence lawyers are already at work and we are convinced that after the appeal we will have Conte back on the bench by Sept. 10," Marotta told a news conference in Beijing.

The Serie A season starts on Aug. 24 with assistant coach Massimo Carrera set to be Juve's interim coach. Italian media reports had speculated Italy coach Cesare Prandelli could be asked to step in.

Juve, Italy's best supported and most successful club domestically, had endured years of under-achievement following their 2006 demotion to the second division for a match-fixing scandal involving referees.

Last season's triumph in their new Juventus Stadium had reasserted their authority in the Italian game and the immediate future without Conte puts a cloud over their hopes of defending the title and mounting an assault on the Champions League.

However, rivals AC Milan have been weakened by the high-profile departures of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris St Germain while Inter Milan have failed to strengthen their squad.

The charges against Pepe and Bonucci related to a Serie A match between Bari and Udinese in 2010, which finished 3-3.

Bonucci was playing for Bari at the time and Pepe for the opposition.

"Juventus... warmly welcomes the acquittal of its players Leonardo Bonucci and Simone Pepe and reiterates its full support for Antonio Conte and Angelo Alessio in the hope that the next degree of judgement can finally allow their innocence to emerge fully," the Turin club said in a statement.

The tribunal also penalised Serie B clubs Lecce, relegated from the top division last season, and Grosseto. Both were demoted to the Lega Pro division (formerly Serie C1) and handed six and three-point deductions respectively.

The former presidents of both clubs were banned for five years for their involvement in the widespread betting affair while a two points deduction for second tier Novara was confirmed.

Bologna were fined but their former striker Marco Di Vaio was also acquitted by the committee with a host of other sanctions and acquittals decided for less high-profile clubs and players

 
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