Antonio Conte has given evidence as a witness in a match-fixing trial involving former club Bari.
The Italy CT has been indicted relating to two charges of sporting fraud during his time in charge of Siena, but today’s hearing covers two Bari matches when he was Coach, and the Azzurri boss is not accused of any wrongdoing.
“The campaign with Bari in 2009 was exciting,” ANSA reports that Conte told the court, which is trying to establish whether games against Salernitana and Treviso were fixed.
“I took over from [Giuseppe] Materazzi, with the team in the relegation zone. That season ended with the team gaining promotion.
“When I was appointed, I found a team which wanted to do beautiful and important things. We played attacking football, and we went from 320 fans to filling the stadium.”
The former Juventus Coach did, however, indicate a strange atmosphere among the fans before the Salernitana match.
“At that time of the season there was a lot of excitement and a festive atmosphere, even in the streets of Bari because we had been promoted to Serie A.
“[but] In the week before the match with Salernitana, the only talk was of the friendship between the fans.
“The only strange thing I remember is the fans who seemed to favour Salernitana, and even during the game our fans cheered even when the opposing team scored.
“Before the game I tried to give the team important reasons to play our best. We had gone on an extraordinary journey, and also wanted to keep our lead in the League, and lift the Serie B trophy.
“I also talked to the players about the friendship between the fans, saying it shouldn’t interest them. And in fact, it was a very fair game, it was played openly. The commitment was good.”
Conte also insisted he knew nothing of allegations defender Cristian Stellini, later on his coaching staff at Juventus, was involved.
“Cristian Stellini was with me at Juventus when the news came out about the Bari investigation,” Conte explained.
“He told me he wanted to talk to me about something which had happened a long time ago at Bari, in a match with Salernitana, but I told him I didn’t want to know anything, and to go away.
“Then he resigned.”
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