Italy boss could face match-fixing trial

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Italy coach Antonio Conte is among 104 people whom a prosecutor has requested be brought to trial under match-fixing charges in a wide-ranging case that allegedly has its roots in Singapore.

Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino made the expected requests in a case that has stretched back nearly five years.

Conte is accused of committing sports fraud when he coached Siena in 2010-11.

If indicted, Conte is likely to request a fast-track trial in an attempt to clear himself before next year’s European Championship.

Conte, who has denied wrongdoing, has already served a four-month sports ban during the 2012-13 season when he was with Juventus.

Trial requests were also made for current and former Lazio captains Stefano Mauri and Giuseppe Signori, respectively. Former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni and ex-Atalanta coach Stefano Colantuono are also facing possible trials.

Prosecutors have detailed an extensive match-fixing ring stretching as far as Singapore and South America that was allegedly in operation for more than 10 years.

A judge will decide on eventual indictments.

Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio and Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago have both said that Conte should keep his job unless found guilty.

The match under investigation involving Conte is the Novara-Siena game in May 2011 which ended in a 2-2 draw. Another game, Siena’s 1-0 away win at Albinoleffe, also in May 2011, was dropped from the inquiry. Siena finished second in Serie B in 2011 and were promoted to the top division.

Players have told prosecutors that Conte was aware of the match-fixing.

Conte was also investigated for match-fixing when he coached Bari from 2007 to 2009, and the southern club was penalised a point during the 2013-14 season.

After leading Juventus to three straight Serie A titles, Conte became Italy’s coach a year ago. He replaced Cesare Prandelli after the Azzurri’s first-round exit from the World Cup.

More than 50 people have been arrested in Italy for match-fixing since mid-2011, with games under investigation by prosecutors in Cremona, Bari, Naples and Catania.

A week ago, Catania’s owner admitted to fixing five Serie B matches last season aimed at preventing the Sicilian club from suffering relegation to the third division.

Antonino Pulvirenti also claimed to have made payoffs totaling €500,000 during his admission at a preliminary hearing. He was one of seven people arrested last month on sports fraud charges.

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