Juventus Football Club SpA coach Antonio Conte said he’s being made a scapegoat in a scandal involving match-fixing and illegal betting.
“I am the object of slanderous accusations, to make me out to be the public face of a football betting scandal,” Conte said at a press conference today. “I have never bet in my life.”
Conte, who led Juventus to the Serie A title last season, lost his appeal this week against a 10-month suspension for failing to report a match-fixing case.
Italian police in May arrested Stefano Mauri, the team captain of SS Lazio SpA, and prosecutors probed Conte as part of an international investigation into the nation’s soccer leagues.
Italy’s soccer federation acquitted Conte, 43, of wrongdoing in the game between Novara and Siena on May 1, 2011, but did suspend him for failing to report a match-fixing incident in the game between Albinoleffe and Siena four weeks later, according to a statement published on its website. Conte was Siena’s coach at the time.
Conte will still be allowed to train Juventus during his suspension, but won’t be able to coach on match days. He will now appeal to the National Sport Arbitration Court of the Italian Olympic Committee, Luigi Chiappero, one his lawyers, told journalists today.
Conte “is and will be Juventus coach,” Chairman Andrea Agnelli said in a statement published on the soccer club’s website yesterday. “Those who think that these judicial events could affect our season are mistaken.”
Assistant coach Massimo Carrera will be in charge when Juventus begins it title defense at home against Parma in two days.