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Juve’s Conte banned

Antonio Conte... sanctioned by FIGC.

Antonio Conte... sanctioned by FIGC.

Juventus announced their “full support” yesterday 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 the 2010-11 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.

Last season’s Italian champions said they were “extremely satisfied” with Bonucci and Pepe’s acquittals and underlined their “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.

The ruling comes just over two weeks from the start of the Serie A season, leaving Juventus potentially managerless for the new campaign. Today, they play Napoli in the Italian Super Cup which will be staged in Beijing.

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 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 rem-ained part of the team.

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.

The FIGC said in a statement 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 fine.

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