Less than 24 hours after being confirmed as Chelsea’s next manager, reports have emerged that Antonio Conte could face a suspended six-month sentence over his alleged role in a match-fixing case.
Italian public prosecutor Roberto Di Martino (not Di Matteo) submitted his request today against the former Juventus manager.
Conte is accused of match-fixing during the 2010/11 seasons, back when he was coach of Siena.
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As well as a suspended sentence, Di Martino wants the future Blues boss to be fined around £6,500.
The match that is under investigation is Siena’s 1-0 win against Albinoleffe in May 2011. Another match, a 2-2 draw against Novara in the same month, was also under investigation but has been dropped from the inquiry.
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Conte's lawyer's quotes
However, Conte’s lawyer, Leonardo Cammarata, has responded to the claims: "Antonio Conte denies any wrongdoing and any knowledge of an attempt at match-fixing,” he told Reuters, per Sky Sports.
Cammarata added that the manager is frustrated that he has to defend himself once again.
“He is very tired of it,” Cammarata said, per The Guardian.
“It has been a nightmare, completely crazy. We are convinced he is innocent and asked for this trial to be fast-tracked because we did not want a long and boring trial which would turn into a TV show at a time when he wants to concentrate on his football,” he added.
Cammarata revealed that he will be attending court in April to make his final statement in defence of Conte, with a verdict due in mid-May.
It’s reported that Conte was aware of the attempts to fix the match against Albinoleffe but has maintained his innocent since.
The Italian Football Federation had previously banned Conte from football for 10 months due to his involvement in the match in question. However, the 46-year-old appealed and the ban was reduced to a four-month ban which he served in the 2012/13 campaign for Juventus.
He missed 15 Serie A matches for Juventus and six Champions League games due to the suspension.
Still be Chelsea boss
Whatever the outcome of the trial, Conte will be free to take control of Chelsea after he manages his native Italy in the European Championships in the summer. However, there will be a suspended six-month jail sentence hanging over his head if is found guilty of sporting fraud.
Conte’s request for the trial to be fast-tracked until mid-May has been accepted so it doesn’t impact on Italy’s preparation for this summer.
According to The Guardian, Chelsea have declined to comment on the on-going legal process but it’s reported that they have been reassured of Conte’s innocence.