Furious Conte lashes out at judge over ban

Juventus coach Antonio Conte on Thursday hit out at one of the judges who decided to uphold his ten-month ban from football for failing to report suspicions of match-fixing at a previous club.

"There is one judge who bears a grudge against me as if he were a rival supporter," Conte said at a press conference in Turin.

"I have become the face of this scandal," added Conte, visibly wound up and furious at the decision taken by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

"This whole affair is absurd, I can say that now.

"For seven months my name has been associated with this affair, it is libelous.

"I have never gambled, my players know who I am," he went on, insisting that he has "always respected the rules."

Conte was accused of failing to report the fixing of Siena's games against Novara and AlbinoLeffe when he was in charge of the Tuscan club in the 2010-11 season.

He went on: "I have been accused of not reporting an offence but, if I didn't see anything, what am I supposed to have reported?

"They say I told my players during a meeting that we were going to draw. So that means I am supposed to have told 25 players that we were going to cheat?

"For a coach, that is libelous. I am afraid that, after all this, when I step into a dressing room, I might be taken to task by one of my players.

"I am going to have to have a camera follow me 24 hours a day to show that I don't do anything wrong, otherwise what will people think if I send a player to the stands?"

In an appeal against his ban on Wednesday, a court dismissed the accusation against him in relation to Siena's match against Novara on May 1, 2011.

However, the length of his ban was not reduced.

"I said to myself after that ruling that my ban would be reduced. And yet it wasn't. It's absurd," said Conte.

"I came to a club that is loved by some and hated by others, and I won when people were not expecting it," added the 43-year-old, who also spent the majority of his playing career with the Bianconeri.

"I am not a nice guy because I win, but that is not my problem.

His lawyer, Giulia Buongiorno, who also attended the press conference, added: "We did not get the chance to properly defend ourselves, Why did they want to do it all so quickly?"

Conte, who led an unbeaten Juventus to last season's Serie A title, is now set to take his case to Italy's sports arbitration tribunal (TNAS), a part of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).

"I don't like any of what has happened. We have put our faith in a bunch of liers. But let's see what happens next," Conte concluded.

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