NEWS
Saturday August 4 2012
'Conte's dignity is priceless'

Antonio Conte’s lawyer reveals why the Juventus Coach took a plea bargain and then chose to fight the betting charges in a full trial. “His dignity is priceless.”

The tactician is charged with failing to alert authorities to a potential fix while he was at Siena, something he has always denied.

He was willing to take a plea bargain on the strict condition it was not an admission of guilt (which is possible under Italian law), but the Disciplinary Commission rejected the suspension of three months with €200,000 fine.

Conte and his assistant manager Angelo Alessio have taken a surprising step by not sitting on the bench for tonight's friendly against Malaga. Massimo Carrera takes the reins instead, as Juve are forced to prepare for life without Conte on the touchline.

“He was always very consistent, saying he wanted to respect the work of the prosecutors and judges,” lawyer Antonio De Rensis told Sky Sport Italia.

“Despite the difficulties this situation created for Juventus and his family, he is the one who gives us strength. The same level of strength and support comes from President Andrea Agnelli.

“A plea bargain in a sporting trial is an opportunity and I can guarantee it was very hard to convince Conte to accept the three-month ban. When that failed, every other option fell away, because Antonio Conte’s dignity is priceless.

“What irritated him the most? He always put the needs of the team first, even in front of his pride and dignity. What hurt Antonio the most was being painted as someone unfair, which everyone knows is completely opposed to the reality.

“He is a man of great heart and honesty. Those who know him, love him.”

After the plea bargain collapsed, the prosecutor requested a 15-month ban and the Disciplinary Commission judges are expected to make a decision around August 8-10.

“I think the fact the prosecutor quintupled his requested ban shows how out of proportion this is,” continued the lawyer.

“The truth is in the paperwork, as there are some passages of testimony that are completely contradictory. In five versions Carlo Gervasoni and Filippo Carobbio changed their stories in the detail and every time this happened Carobbio said that Gervasoni was lying. If one says black and the other says white, then someone here is not telling the truth.

“I am convinced the Disciplinary Commission is not targeting Conte, it’s just that Carobbio said things that are contradicted within the paperwork at their disposal. Unfortunately, they have so little time to get to the bottom of things.

“The paperwork says it all. I’d like to point out that against my client there are no intercepted phone calls or a money trail. The only evidence is the testimony of someone who already confessed to sporting fraud.

“I feel evidence has to be fundamental, otherwise we are facing a witch-hunt.”

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