Juventus president Andrea Agnelli has labelled head coach Antonio Conte’s match-fixing ban as ‘absurd’ despite it being reduced.
Conte was originally banned from match-day involvement with Juventus for 10 months having been found guilty of failing to report match-fixing while head coach of Siena in Serie B.
But while that suspension was reduced to four months last week, meaning Conte can return to full duties on December 9, Agnelli remains convinced Juventus’ head coach has been harshly punished.
“We appealed, we got a definitive ban and he’ll be back on the bench on December 9 so the definitive ruling was four months of disqualification which personally I find quite absurd, but that’s the way it is,” Agnelli said.
Agnelli believes it is unfair to punish Conte based on the Italian football governing body (FIGC) deciding the 43-year-old coach could not have been ignorant of about match-fixing at Siena despite his protestations to the contrary.
“If I come to you and give you 50,000 Euros to score an own goal so that whoever in the crowd can make an illegal profit that has to be tackled with maximum fierceness,” Agnelli said.
“You have to have extraordinary penalties for that.
“It’s a completely different story when you start talking about the sports justice code and that is allegedly something he (Conte) should have known about.
“Our coach was disqualified for four months with the line that he could not have not known (about match-fixing at Siena).
“So there isn’t proof that he knew anything.”
Agnelli argued if Conte can be suspended on those grounds, everyone in Italian football must be guilty.
“That means everyone can become part of a trial,” the Juventus president said.
“And for it not being possible to not know (match-fixing was going on) and not being able to defend yourself everybody in this room is guilty.”
Despite Conte being unable to sit on the bench during matches so far this season, Juventus are top of Serie A, undefeated after seven rounds.