Future Chelsea coach Antonio Conte acquitted in match-fixing case

Accusations of sporting fraud against Italy national team manager – relating to 2011 scandal involving Siena club – baseless, says judge

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 May, 2016, 11:26pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 May, 2016, 11:26pm

An Italian judge on Monday acquitted Antonio Conte, the future coach of English Premier League club Chelsea, for allegedly doing nothing to halt a 2011 match-fixing scandal while he was in charge of the Siena team.

Conte, who will coach Italy’s national squad at Euro 2016 next month, before taking up his new post at Chelsea, was acquitted because the accusations of sporting fraud were baseless, Judge Pierpaolo Beluzzi said in Cremona.

The 46-year-old Conte, who has already served a four-month match ban imposed by the Italian soccer federation (FIGC) in connection with the same case, has always denied any wrongdoing.

“It was a full acquittal ... what matters is that for him, this story is over,” said Francesco Arata, one of Conte’s lawyers. “We talked to Conte on the phone and he was very happy.”

Conte played more than 400 games for Juventus and went on to manage the club to three successive Serie A titles from 2012 to 2014 before taking over Italy’s national squad.

The inquiry followed alleged attempts to manipulate matches in Serie B, the Italian second division, and the third-tier Lega Pro during the 2010-11 season, with some Coppa Italia matches also involved.

Also on Monday, the Cremona court ordered some 90 others to stand trial in the same match-fixing case, setting December 6 as the start date for the hearings. Conte and five others had chosen to stand in a so-called “abbreviated” trial process.

The FIGC has already conducted its own investigation into the case, with more than 50 players banned for up to five years and several clubs, including Atalanta and Siena, having points deducted.