Thursday July 26 2012
Conte considers plea bargain

Antonio Conte’s lawyer admits the Juventus Coach could offer a plea bargain after he was charged with failing to report attempted match-fixes.

The tactician had faced the far more serious accusations of sporting fraud, but his interview with prosecutors convinced them he was at most only aware of an attempted fix rather than actively involved in it during his time at Siena.

“When this whole affair began, there were much more serious scenarios painted by the sporting and civil justice systems,” lawyer Antonio De Renzis told Tgcom24.

“That scenario has been taken down a few notches and I think we are going towards a shelving of the civil charges.

“As for the sporting judges, we see that now it has been taken down from sporting fraud to simply not reporting an attempted fraud. That has again changed the scenario that had been painted.

“I think the work done during the investigation helped to show how little responsibility Conte had in the matter.”

Several clubs have already taken plea bargains to reduce their punishment and get the sporting trial over as quickly as possible. It is a route Conte could well follow.

“A good lawyer never takes anything off the table because he has to evaluate the situation. A plea bargain is one thing in a civil court and another in a sporting court.

“Everyone always said that the sporting justice system is the opposite of a civil one, as here the accused has to prove his innocence rather than the other way round. The accused must prove in some way that the accuser is lying.

“In that sense, a plea bargain would perhaps lack intellectual honesty. For the moment we are simply content to see the prosecuting scenario dropped down a few notches.”

It is big news for Conte, because he was dragged into the trial by former Siena player Filippo Carobbio, who claimed the Coach told the team in a locker room meeting that a result was ‘already decided.’

However, the other players in the same meeting denied this ever happened and Conte’s testimony also helped prosecutors to consider Carobbio’s accusations less than entirely reliable.

It could well prompt the rest of Carobbio’s testimony to be reconsidered by prosecutors, who had until now stated he was “a reliable witness.”
Conte had claimed Carobbio was implicating him because there had been a row between their respective wives.

Instead, it seems as if the prosecutors only took into account the alleged testimony of ex-Siena player Roberto Di Martino, who said he told Conte at the time that he’d turned down the offer to ‘fix’ Novara-Siena as a high-scoring match.

Conte and Di Martino are therefore accused of not reporting the attempted fix to authorities.

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