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Soccer: Conte rails against match-fixing ban

'I've never bet in my life' says suspended Juve coach

Soccer: Conte rails against match-fixing ban

(ANSA) - Rome, August 23 - Juventus's suspended coach Antonio Conte on Thursday railed against a 10-month match-fixing ban set to keep him off the bench during the Serie A champ's defence of their title. "This is an absurd affair, and I have always been correct on and off the field," the 48-year-old told a news conference Thursday, a day after a soccer appeals court upheld the ban for failing to report one instance of match-fixing. Conte suggested the Italian Soccer Federation prosecutor who pursued the charges, Stefano Palazzi, "has something against me personally" after Palazzi told the press he was sure of his case. "He said unfair things, perhaps as a fan (of another club)," Conte claimed. The coach, who has been replaced by ex-Juve defender Massimo Carrera, said prosecutors had singled him out because of his prominent position in Italian soccer "to try to make me an advert against match fixing". "I have never bet in my life. It's a disgrace," Conte said. In the case, players were found to have bet with Far East syndicates on matches they rigged. Conte, who is appealing to the Italian Olympic Committee, has the full support of his club which said he was the victim of a "witch hunt" after the appeals verdict. Juve start their title defence against Parma on Saturday.

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