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Conte pleased to end ´nightmare´ after match-fixing acquittal

Antonio Conte has welcomed the end of a “nightmare” after the Italy boss was acquitted of sporting fraud.

In April, the prosecutor of Cremona recommended a six-month suspended jail sentence and an €8,000 fine for Conte as part of the ongoing Scommessopoli case,  but judge Pierpaolo Beluzzi dismissed the charges on Monday.

Conte, who will take charge of Premier League club Chelsea after leading his country at Euro 2016, was accused of failing to report an attempt to fix a match against AlbinoLeffe when he was in charge of Serie B side Siena in 2010-11.

The 46-year-old, a decorated former player and coach at Juventus, denied any wrongdoing and posted a statement on his Facebook page after the verdict, detailing his experience of the ordeal.

“Four years ago, with the search which took place in my home at five o’clock in the morning, began a nightmare period that, at times, I thought I could never finish,” Conte said.

“Those who I was close [to] and know me know how much I’ve suffered at the very idea that we could pull my name over to the shame of Calcioscommesse [Scommessopoli].

“Today finally puts an end to this bad history.”

While in charge of Juventus, Conte was banned from the touchline by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) for four months in 2012 as part of the Scommessopoli scandal, although he was later cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to a second game under the spotlight, between Siena and Novara in May 2011.

Conte’s statement added: “As I have always said, even to those who were called upon to judge me, I’m a man of sport and I don’t know any other way to get to the success if not through sacrifice and total dedication.

“It’s been a terrible experience that I faced with my head held high. It shows the path that I’ve decided to undertake within the process, without looking for comfortable loopholes, as I have always done in life and in sport.

“To all those who have never doubted my loyalty, I want to express my gratitude, and to reassure that from this test came out a stronger and even more motivated person.”

Following the verdict, FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio told Ansa that his belief in Conte was “never in question”, adding Italy were now “even more focused on the Euros”.

Mon 16 May, 2016
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