Thursday August 23 2012
Furious Conte: Ban is absurd!

Juventus boss Antonio Conte has furiously defended himself after failing to get his 10-month touchline ban dismissed on appeal.

Conte had been suspended for most of the season after an initial probe by the Italian Football Federation saw him found guilty of failing to report attempts to fix two matches while in charge of Siena.

Although he was able this week to clear his name with regard to the Novara-Siena game, his 10-month stop was left untouched after the charges surrounding the Albinoleffe-Siena encounter were confirmed.

“We’ve called this Press conference because the time has arrived for us to talk after hearing what everyone else had to say,” he stated on Thursday afternoon.

“I’ve always respected the rules, on and off the pitch. I have comported myself in the right way throughout this whole affair.

“Yesterday seemed to be the icing on the cake. I was left appalled by what was said by one of the commission’s judges. Who, perhaps in order to make the papers, said some unusual things.

“I’ve behaved in the right way, despite the fact that I have suffered some grave injustice. Now I want to clear a few things up.

“I’ve never placed a bet in my life, but I’ve become an advert for the betting scandal.”

Conte was placed in the dock after being accused of wrongdoing by Filippo Carobbio, a former player of his in Tuscany.

“They judged Pippo Carobbio, who they painted as my best friend, as a reliable and credible person, while the Federal Prosecutor has deemed me not credible,” the former midfielder added.

"What the Federal Prosecutor said is chilling. I consider a plea bargain blackmail. I'm an innocent person, yet I’m told by my lawyer to plea bargain.

“It’s embarrassing. They have ruined my credibility in the changing room. Those people who know me know what type of person Antonio Conte is. I’m used to winning on the field of play.

“It’s all absurd. Everyone needs to understand what has been done to me because it is embarrassing.

“Now I’m afraid to argue with one of my own players. If I send one of my players into the stands then this type of thing can happen.

“They believe the word of someone who has been selling games for three and a half years, someone who sold his family.

“What can I do? Take a camcorder with me everywhere which records my every move? This type of thing can now happen to anyone.

“Today it has happened to me, tomorrow it could happen to one of my colleagues or a player. People need to open their eyes and not put their heads in the sand.”

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