Thursday August 2 2012
Conte's stand

It’s not about Juventus or Antonio Conte, as Susy Campanale warns the sporting justice system in Italy is deeply flawed.

Antonio Conte was talked into accepting a plea bargain by his lawyers, one that made it very clear this was not an admission of guilt when charged with failing to alert authorities to an attempted sporting fraud. When that was rejected by the Disciplinary Commission, the Coach decided to take a stand. He and Juventus are embarking on a battle that could change the sporting justice system in Italy forever – and it’s about time too.

Let me be clear, lest many stop reading this blog already and accuse me of white-washing history: I am not a Juventus supporter and I am most certainly not accusing the FIGC of creating some anti-Bianconeri conspiracy stretching back to Calciopoli. That would be daft. What I am saying is that Conte’s situation is a perfect example of why the current system does not work. It could easily be argued it is also a sign of a wider problem within the Italian civil justice system, but that is for another day.

The evidence against Conte is simple – former Siena player Filippo Carobbio claims the Coach said in a team meeting that results were ‘secured’ against Albinoleffe and Novara during the 2010-11 Serie B campaign. That is the entirety of the evidence. One man’s word. This man who had already been caught in contact with betting syndicates and confessed with the promise of bringing bigger names to the prosecutor in exchange for a large discount on his own punishment.

This issue of the ‘pentiti’ – penitents – has been a problem throughout the civil justice system for several decades, most notably in the 1980s and 90s when high-profile showbiz celebrities were dragged through the mud simply because they were named by Mafia underlings who wanted a discount on their sentences. After lengthy trials and even spells in prison, those innocent figures were cleared of all wrong-doing.

Juventus launched a scathing attack on the system, suggesting it protected confessed criminals more than those who profess their innocence. That is without a shadow of a doubt true. The Italian approach to justice seems to consider you guilty until you can prove your innocence, which is somewhat difficult when it’s one man’s word against another.

Except in Conte’s case, it is one man’s word against 24 others. The other players who were in that Siena team meeting all testified that the Coach never mentioned or alluded to ‘fixed’ results. Their testimony has been discarded by the prosecutor. As Conte is charged with failing to alert authorities to something untoward, then either he is innocent or the other 23 players are lying and should also be charged. The fact those ex-Siena men have not been charged just makes the whole thing look completely meaningless.

The prosecutor in his own way already showed he doubts Carobbio’s testimony. After all, Carobbio originally accused Conte of something that would amount to sporting fraud, but the prosecutor realised it wouldn’t stick and opted for the less serious ‘failing to alert authorities.’ This way, the prosecutor has cherry-picked which parts of Carobbio’s story to believe. Why? Either he is a credible witness or he isn’t, you can’t rest an entire case on half-believing a testimony. The more you look at what evidence Conte has against him, the more you can see why he is so angry.

I welcome Conte and Juventus standing up to the prosecutor and the Disciplinary Commission, demanding to see them make a case out of this pitiful evidence. Maybe it will have repercussions throughout this and future sporting trials that risk ruining careers without genuine proof. It might also discourage the dawn raids on people’s houses and training grounds when they have repeatedly offered to testify and been ignored.

Some of you will say, but Conte accepted a plea bargain, so isn’t that an admission of guilt? Not in Italy it isn’t. The justice system is insanely long – so that we are still seeing rulings made on Calciopoli six years later in numerous courts of appeal. It has become a tacit agreement that it suits all parties to just work out a plea bargain and get it over with, saving everyone time and money. This is especially true in the civil courts, where the vast majority of people handed prison sentences don’t ever sit behind bars. Again, this was thanks to a law passed because there was not enough space in the jails. As I said, it is a very strange system in Italy.

Many Juventini, including President Andrea Agnelli, will take this as an opportunity to get payback for Calciopoli. With hindsight and the benefit of wiretapped Inter phone calls that were somehow completely ignored at the time of the trial, Juve could’ve fought those charges a lot harder. It’s not so much that they were innocent – they weren’t – but rather that Luciano Moggi had a point when he said everyone was doing it. The wiretaps showed less of a Juve-led cabal and more of a general moaning towards the referees from all quarters.

In any case, including Calciopoli in this legal battle risks muddying the waters. Conte’s situation is entirely separate and must be treated as such, otherwise people will get swept up in the usual club rivalries and ignore the evidence. It suits everyone to change the current sporting justice system, because sooner or later any of the clubs could find themselves forced to prove innocence when guilt is assumed. 

Have your say...
other juve fans rationally explaining the fact,so either juve and conte are innocents,and the FIGC are bias or they are guilty and the FIGC is hiding the evidence from the public, so either both juve and FIGC are equally guilt or the only the FIGC and juve is not, then the question why against juve is subjected to analysis and interpretations...
why the serie a champion pay for a serie b crime?
whom you are punishing conte or juve?
why inter tapes worn't considered?
why afraidof aGUILTY JUVE
on the 4th November, 2012 at 7:00pm
nice article...
some juve fans talk through emotions, thus they ignore the facts in their speech, yet they are liable to be attacked by their counterpart in other teams namely inter and ac milan who saw the facts whitch if a just action would be taken based upon would mean questioning their teams integrity, and if they think that their teems were without a shadow of a doubt not guilty, then they wouldn't feel the need to thrive on FIGC words completely ignoring if it was 1 aginst 23,or 23 to 1
on the 4th November, 2012 at 6:32pm
Thank god, capital punishment was abolished.......otherwise Conte would be dead right now!
on the 11th August, 2012 at 10:56pm
Well Conte has been banned, he knew/suspected there was a fix and didn't report it. Simple. He's not the only one either Juve fans so don't moan as it's not against the club, just the man. If you feel hard done by look at poor Lecce!
on the 10th August, 2012 at 9:08am
this trial is just another way to break down the true italian champions . how can 23 people be lying . it just does not make sense . This prosecutor is against conte and juventus. why must juventus be subject to this type of treatment . juventus paid for their crimes that they did not commit btw.again all this has been proven and is on paper.
on the 7th August, 2012 at 3:51pm
"This is especially true in the civil courts, where the vast majority of people handed prison sentences don’t ever sit behind bars." Civil proceedings do not result in imprisonment - criminal ones can.
on the 7th August, 2012 at 7:44am
I`m afraid that one day I may end up in prison , just because im a Juventus supporter ! How is it possible a man found guilty to be sentenced with 4 months ban and his words to be such "trueful" so that they have more value than the words of 24 other players where the situation is a word against a word ? Strange ... I thinks it`s obvious , they want to hurt Juve in every possible way and I don`t understand why :( WHAT GOES AROUND , COMES AROUND ! #forzaJUVENTUS
on the 5th August, 2012 at 5:53pm
It seems that 1>24 in Italy, just because that one says something that hurts Juve...
on the 5th August, 2012 at 5:07pm
this isn't about Calciopoli or muntari's disallowed goal, by the way Viktor, Matri had a goal disallowed soon after...

This is about either 23 men not in the room or lieing, and about one man who accepted a lesser penalty if he gave them one big name.. He couldn't even remember anything until he was in federal court... I am a Juve fan since 1994, and I am sure Juve will always be near the top.....
on the 5th August, 2012 at 4:51am

FORZA JUVEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

S3laM 1z B0sn3!!!
on the 5th August, 2012 at 3:22am

If this doesn't show that the FIGC isn't fit for purpose I don't know what does. This is the sporting institution that deems itself fit to judge others, to hand out bans for racism in the stands, to ban a coach for the word of ONE proven cheat against 23 more credible witnesses? They do not deserve the privilege of representing decent Italians around the world.
on the 4th August, 2012 at 3:23pm
Lets not forget that Moggi was in charge of Juve
when Conte used to play for them, so he must have
learned all the tricks.
on the 4th August, 2012 at 1:33pm
ammmm juve were cleared of all their charges for calciopoli and inter were found guilty . juve were charged by people who used to work for inter anyway . so let inter have their little glory time cuz they wont be getting it back anytime soon . juve still has 3 stars on their uniform while inter and milan scrap for 2 lol juve is the best team forever
on the 4th August, 2012 at 12:43pm
More/less/as guilty as there will never be a trial but it is a pitty, mostly for inter as it allowed juventus a clean break with the right people in charge to take the club forward and be successful. Let's wait until the trial and see what happens and let's hope that justice is done either way. Forza Juve, Forza Conte!
on the 4th August, 2012 at 9:21am
This isn't calicopoli nor has it really got anything to do with Juventus, or inter for that matter! I think it's great that Conte is going to trial and will defend himself. I have heard nothing yet that points to a conviction but if something did happen, then, as a juventus fan I want to know and want everyone punished accordingly. We have paid for our crimes of the past and we should all want a transparent club so nothing like 2006 happens again!! We will never know if inter were...........
on the 4th August, 2012 at 9:15am
Conte is the coach. How can he did not notice ? Why his assistant accept plea bargain of 2 years, just no money and willing to be mudded ?

If you blame, let's change to common law system.
on the 4th August, 2012 at 12:07am
Is the justice system in Italy flawed?
Then Italy has a bigger problem than a couple of individuals being banned from a sport for some months to come.

I still don't see the issue here. Conte, among others, has been accused of a crime. Why wouldn't this go to trail. Anything other than that should cause public outcry, not the other way around.

Is the evidence not sufficient?
Than let the Italian judicial system decide that, im pretty sure neither me or Susy has the competence to judge that
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 10:27pm
I find it funny juve supporters blame moratti for their problems. Maybe if they stopped cheating they wouldn't have these problems.
Juve in his DNA!
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 10:07pm
Conte made a plea bargain according to Article 23 where he did not admit guilt but instead was trying to minimize the economic as well as personal load that going to a corrupt trial would have added to his life. Article 23 is basically a way for people who have no faith, so everyone, in the sporting justice system to minimize the inevitable damage that this system causes regardless of whether the accused is innocent or not. That is why a plea bargain in this case does not equal guilt.
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 9:45pm
There are ignorant people writing on here about the legal proceedings and they are stating some completely false things. I think we can all agree that the whole Italian justice system, including the sporting one, is a complete and utter fraud. But since the system is still in place readers here should understand that the system has 2 forms of plea bargain in articles 23 and 24. Article 23 is a plea bargain WITHOUT admission of guilt and Article 24 is a plea bargain WITH admission of guilt
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 9:38pm
@30 scudetti:

Juventus as a club was freed, not Moggi. From Inter, Faccheti could not go to trial as he died before. So, all Juventus fans are wrong because presumptions (without trial) that they were guilty. Probably Inter would be not guilty. And asking information who is refereeing and instructing how to referee, is not same. Juventus (Moggi) did worse thing.
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 8:36pm
these days people have a habbit of trying to persuade thats things are actually different from what you see and hear all i have to say is eyes dont lie
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 8:29pm
In response to a couple of posts on here, Juventus have been cleared of sporting fraud with regard to Calciopoli. Also Inter were declared guilty of sporting fraud last year for the Calciopoli season, so their conduct was not the same as Juventus, it was worse.

I also want to say I don't believe this latest scandal is anything to do with Massimo Moratti or Inter.
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 7:01pm
All i have to say. My muntari's disallowed goal... What a shame. Forza Milan
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 6:48pm
susys picture on top this blog really makes me laugh thats as crooked as they look
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 5:47pm
there is decades worth of evidence showing juve only win due to favourable descions (not inter) its not just inter but everyone other than juventini that want to see juve dragged through the mud (rightly so) for years of unbiased crimes against evreyone and all. One would have thought calciopoli should have taught them a lesson but no juve dna is intself probably corroupt every mis hapenin can be traced back to juve and then are those who think its okay because they have the most italians!
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 5:44pm
This judicial system is beyond flawed. Reminds me of the Salem Witch trials, where pointing a finger at people weather innocent or guilty guarantees you leniency, the more prominent the figure you point your finger at the more leniency you will get on your crimes. What more prominent figure then the one who just won the title. If Conte gets convicted based solely on a guilty persons testimony then there is no hope for this judicial system or the FIGC! In which case SHAME on FIGC for allowing it!
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 3:06pm
If Juve want the war, they should stop sending their player for Nazionale.
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 3:02pm
It's so hilarious to read all this comments of Juve fans who keep saying that Moratti directed this. And unfortunately, they really believe in that. Easier than admit that they are fans of the club which is synonim for cheating.
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 2:37pm
Thank you for this article.
I understand it is difficult to understand what is really going on in Italy but Susy wrote the mere truth.
Juventus has been critizing figc for calciopoli's discrepancies. Many millions are the price of this game and what is happening against Conte is a pure revenge.
I am sad many of the football supporters aren't so honest to keep apart their preferences in football clubs from the truth and don't understand this is a battle for justice. Thank you Susy.
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 12:43pm

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