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Football

Juve coach Conte's plea deal rejected

  • Juventus' coach Antonio Conte reacts during their Italian Serie A soccer match against AS Roma in Rome in this December 12, 2011 file photo. (REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito)

ROME: The Italian football federation rejected a three-month ban on Wednesday for Juventus coach Antonio Conte, throwing out a proposed plea bargain for match-fixing as Italy's betting scandal widens.

Conte had originally denied allegations of failing to report match-fixing in two games when he was coach of Siena in the 2010-2011 season. He then proposed a deal with prosecutors for a three-month ban, hoping to avoid a jail sentence.

A disciplinary committee hearing on Wednesday rejected the attempted deal made with federation prosecutor Stefano Palazzi, leaving Conte facing either a longer ban or a tough sporting trial.

The ruling throws Conte's return to the Juventus sidelines in November into doubt, leaving the Serie A team in a critical situation.

The matches in question, which took place when Siena was in Serie B, were against Novara and Albinoleffe.

The fall-out of the so-called "Calcioscommesse" -- football betting -- investigation has been felt since last year with several high-profile names implicated.

Italy have a history of match-fixing scandals, although they have tended to precede sporting success.

The 1980 "Totonero" scandal saw AC Milan and Lazio relegated to Serie B while star striker Paolo Rossi was banned for two years. He came back just in time to be Italy's hero in their 1982 World Cup victory.

In 2006, Juve were relegated and stripped of their 2005 and 2006 titles for interfering with the referees' commission. Just over a month later, Italy won their fourth World Cup.

 
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