Soccer: Conte's match-fixing ban slashed

Juve coach will be able to return to bench from Dec 8

Soccer: Conte's match-fixing ban slashed

(ANSA) - Rome, October 5 - Juventus coach Antonio Conte's match-fixing ban was cut on appeal from 10 months to four by an Italian Olympic Committee sporting tribunal on Friday. The Italian Soccer Federation had found Conte guilty of failing to report an agreement to fix the result of a match when he was in charge of Siena in the second tier in the 2010-11 campaign. The ban will now end on December 8 instead of early June. This means he will be able to return to the dugout for Juve's trip to Palermo on December 9. The Turin giants said that even the shorter ban was an injustice for Conte, who led them to the Serie A title last season with an unbeaten record. "I remain convinced that Antonio Conte is an innocent man and has nothing to do with the acts attributed to him," said Juventus Chairman Andrea Agnelli. "The confirmation of the ban is an unjust defeat that should make the whole soccer system reflect". Conte continues to train Juventus during the week but his deputy, Massimo Carrera, has to stand in on the touchline on matchdays. Juve have fared reasonably well this season despite this. They are joint top of Serie A with 16 points from six games alongside Napoli and have drawn their first two games in the Champions League. Over 40 people have been arrested since the Cremona-based 'Last Bet' criminal probe went public last year, leading sporting prosecutors to look at the case. They include Lazio midfielder Stefano Mauri and former Italy internationals Beppe Signori and Cristiano Doni. Former Bari defender Andrea Masiello, one of the players at the centre of the scandal, was given a suspended 22-month prison sentence on Wednesday after a plea bargain with prosecutors. Masiello, who has been banned from soccer by a sporting tribunal, has admitted to deliberately scoring an own goal to ensure Bari lost 2-0 to Lecce in the 2010-11 campaign, when they were relegated to Serie B. A Bari court found the 26-year-old guilty of criminal association and sporting fraud regarding the fixing of four matches. The new case has rocked the Italian soccer world again after Juventus were relegated and stripped of two Serie A titles for involvement in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal in 2006. That scandal regarded schemes to have compliant referees officiate some teams' matches.

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