ITALY

Italy coach Conte cleared of match-fixing charges

Prosecutors had requested a six-month prison sentence for the Italy manager, who is now clear to lead the Azzurri at the European Championship.

Italy coach Conte cleared of match-fixing charges
ANDREAS SOLARO AFP

Italy coach Antonio Conte has been cleared of accusations of sporting fraud following a hearing in Cremona on Monday at which prosecutors had requested a six-month prison sentence, Italian media reports said.

Conte is now free to lead Italy at Euro 2016 before becoming Chelsea coach following the tournament's conclusion on July 10, according to reports on the website of sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.

Conte, who has already served a four-month ban in relation to the affair, had been accused of not reporting an episode of match-fixing relating to a Serie B match with AlbinoLeffe from May 2011 when he was coach of Siena.

Although former players and other figures were implicated, Conte was the most notable.

The 46-year-old former Juventus coach has always denied any wrongdoing in an affair in which players allegedly colluded with underworld figures to fix matches and recoup the rewards of an illegal betting network.

A lawyer for Conte, Francesco Arata, said last month: "He's a total stranger to the betting world and that's why he will be cleared by the judge."

Prosecutor Roberto di Martino, who had requested a six-month sentence for Conte and a fine of 8,000 euros ($9,063), had also sought a four-month prison term for Conte's former assistant at Siena, Angelo Alessio. He was also cleared.

Alessio, Conte's assistant during three title-winning seasons at Juventus and now with him at Italy, risked a four-month sentence but was also acquitted.

The affair, however, has yet to reach its conclusion and could see former players Beppe Signori, one of the top players in Serie A in his prime during a five-year spell with Lazio, among others, feel the full force of the law.

The report said "up to 90" people are involved although Signori, Cristiano Doni, Gigi Sartor and Mauro Bressan -- all former Serie A players -- as well as current Lazio captain Stefano Mauri, are all in the dock facing accusations of transnational sporting fraud.

Of those accused, Mauri is the only active player although he has already been sanctioned for his role in the affair.

Mauri served a six-month ban for failing to report match-fixing, meaning he missed most of the start of the 2014-2015 season, returning to the fray on February 2014.