Tuesday August 21 2012
Conte looking to be acquitted

Juventus boss Antonio Conte is optimistic that he’ll get his 10-month ban scrapped. “I want to be on the bench for the game against Parma.”

Conte has been suspended from touchline duties after being found guilty of failing to report attempts to allegedly fix two matches while he was in charge of Siena.

But he and his lawyers appealed that ruling on Monday where they looked to discredit former Siena player Filippo Carobbio, whose accusations put Conte on trial.

“This situation is an open wound for me and it will be hard to forget about it,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “The accusations are based on nothing.

“I’m convinced that the judges will read the evidence with attention and acquit me, thus avoiding an act of injustice.

“My conscience is clear, but I don’t think the same can be said for who is throwing mud at me. Am I wrong or are we talking about an ex-player who has admitted to fixing games for years?

“I reiterate, for the umpteenth time, my confidence in judges. My presence in court was just a sign of respect towards them.

“I breathed the air of this process, I listened to my lawyers and the responses of Federal prosecutor Stefano Palazzi.

“Carobbio continued to change his statements like a chameleon, but somehow Palazzi called it 'enrichment'...

“From what I’ve heard I am very calm and confident. I’m counting on being back on the bench for the game against Parma [on Sunday].”

Conte’s initial defence against the accusations was to negotiate a plea bargain in return for a shorter punishment.

The disciplinary commission though rejected the terms of the agreement and Conte now admits it was the wrong path to go down.

“There is one thing that I would not do again if I could turn back time and that is to reluctantly accept a plea bargain,” he noted.

“You don’t bargain innocence. Even if lawyers advise you to do so because it is an opportunity open for you and the risks of a trial are high. It was a mistake.

“Of course I would not have admitted to anything, but it would be perceived as something different. If today I was give a certainty that I would be banned for three months then my answer would be no.

“I agree with the judges when they said that a 90 day suspension was not a fair punishment. The right punishment is no ban. I didn’t do anything illegal and I didn’t fail to report anything.”

Massimo Carrera has replaced Conte on the bench in pre-season, but the latter continues to train the team in the week.