Thursday August 2 2012
Juventus attack 'dictatorial' FIGC

Juventus President Andrea Agnelli has launched a scathing attack on the sporting justice system, as Antonio Conte refuses a plea bargain and will try to plead his innocence.

Conte was talked into accepting a plea bargain of four months and a €200,000 fine yesterday in the betting scandal, but the Disciplinary Commission judges surprisingly turned it down.

The Coach, who is involved due to his time at Siena and the testimony of just one player – Filippo Carobbio – has rejected a new plea bargain attempt and will go to full trial in order to prove his innocence.

In taking this route, Conte faces a potential 15-month ban. Juventus President Agnelli released a scathing statement that attacks the entire sporting justice system.

“We have realised the FIGC and its sporting justice system continue to operate outside of all logic for rights and fairness.

“For a long time and with great sense of responsibility, Juventus and its employees have maintained a relaxed and consistent attitude towards the institutions and respect for attitudes that straight away suggested a new attack was aimed at damaging the club.

“The results of these various charges show enormous contradictions and seem to protect exclusively those who committed sporting fraud. This is paradoxical and cannot be accepted.”

Carobbio’s testimony is considered credible in accusing Conte despite the fact another 23 Siena players who were in the team meeting also testified that the Coach never alluded to any fixed games.

The Italian sporting justice system is effectively set up so that one is guilty until proven innocent, which is why many take plea bargains to avoid much longer bans and a long trial process.

“Yesterday’s decision of the FIGC Disciplinary Commission to reject an offer of a plea bargain that had already been pondered and underwritten by the Prosecutor, is proof of the total inadequacy of the sporting justice system and the Federation within which it operates,” continued Agnelli.

“I must again point out the incapability this structure has of interpreting the needs of modern professional football at the highest level.

“The path of plea bargaining in order to limit the damage done by a contradictory sporting justice system clashes against a dictatorial system that robs clubs and their employees of any right to defence or honour.

“The respectability of individuals is put in danger and it is therefore up to them to make the final decision on which path to take, aware Juventus will support them in every court.

“It will be a complex and difficult season, but the concentration on performances on the field remains high with the objective to confirm ourselves as winners in May 2013.”

This betting scandal comes in the wake of the Calciopoli investigation and controversy over the intercepted phone calls involving other clubs like Inter that were not taken into consideration during the original 2006 trial.