Antonio Conte acquitted of doing nothing to prevent match-fixing

Antonio Conte
Image: Antonio Conte will take charge of Chelsea after Euro 2016

Incoming Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been cleared of doing nothing to prevent a 2011 match-fixing scandal while manager of Siena after a fast-track trial in Cremona.

The prosecutor had requested a suspended six-month sentence and fine of over £6,000, but Judge Pierpaolo Beluzzi said Conte, who will coach Italy at Euro 2016 before taking up his new post at Chelsea, was acquitted because the accusations of sporting fraud were baseless.

"It was a full acquittal. What matters is that for him, this story is over," said Francesco Arata, one of Conte's lawyers after the ruling was read out. "We talked to Conte on the phone and he was very happy.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio welcomed the decision, telling Italian newspaper Il Sole: "I am highly satisfied with the court's acquittal of Antonio Conte.

"Finally his position has been clarified and my confidence in him has never been in question. Now we are all the more focused on the Euros."

Conte, who has denied wrongdoing, served a four-month ban during the 2012-13 season when he was at Juventus for failing to report fixing at Siena.

The match under investigation involving Conte was the Novara-Siena game in May 2011 which ended in a 2-2 draw. 

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Another game, Siena's 1-0 away win at Albinoleffe, was dropped from the inquiry. Siena finished second in Serie B in 2011 and was promoted to the top division.

He issued a statement on Facebook later on Monday, which read:  "Four years ago, a search of my house at 5am ushered in a nightmare period that at times I felt would go on forever," wrote the Lecce-born tactician.

Head coach Italy Antonio Conte reacts
Image: Conte said he had been through a nightmare period and was glad the 'ugly story' is over

"Those who stood by me, and who know me best, know how much I have struggled with the idea that my name might be associated with the shameful world of match-fixing. Today finally draws a line under this ugly story.

"I thank my family and the many people who never believed even for a moment the words which presented a false image of my lifestyle.

"As I have already said to those who were trying to judge me, I am a sportsman and I know no other way to achieve success than through sacrifice and total dedication.

"It was a terrible experience and I have faced it head on. This is demonstrated by the fact that I decided to take part in the process, as I have always done in life, rather than looking for loopholes.

"To all those who never doubted my honesty, I want to express my gratitude, and reassure them that I have emerged from this testing time as a stronger and more highly motivated person."

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