* Conte rejects 15-month ban, goes to trial
* Juventus angrily criticise Italian federation
(Updates with quotes)
ROME Aug 2 Juventus coach Antonio Conte will
face a sporting trial for match-fixing after an attempt to reach
a plea bargain broke down on Thursday when the soccer
federation's prosecutor demanded he be banned for 15 months.
Conte, who led Juventus to the Serie A title last season, is
accused of failing to report match-fixing in two games in the
2010-11 season when he was coach of Siena, then in Serie B.
On Wednesday, the Italian football federation (FIGC) tribunal
said a proposed three-month ban agreed between Conte's lawyers
and the federation prosecutor Stefano Palazzi was insufficient.
It called for them to come up with a tougher penalty
proposal or to go to a full sporting trial.
Frantic negotiations failed on Thursday and Juventus
President Andrea Agnelli blasted the federation, accusing it of
incompetence and launching an unjustified "new attack" on the
"It appears that the FIGC and its system of sporting justice
continue to operate in complete disregard of law and equality,"
said Agnelli in a statement.
He said the rejection of Conte's plea bargain "is testimony
to the complete inadequacy of the sporting justice system and
the federation within which it operates."
"Once again, I detect an inability to interpret the
requirements of today's top-level professional game."
"Having chosen to make a plea bargain in order to limit the
damage of an antiquated and contradictory system of sporting
justice, one is confronted with a dictatorial system that
deprives the club and its employees of any right to defend
themselves and their honour."
The FIGC then issued a reply defending itself.
"The FIGC and its organisations operate with integrity and
within full compliance of the statutory rules which guarantee
the independence and autonomy of the sporting justice," it said.
"The judgements of the president of Juventus Andrea Agnelli
are not acceptable and go beyond the legitimate exercise of free
The federation has said it aims to reach a verdict in the
Conte case by August 10.
Juventus were stripped of the Serie A titles they won in the
2004/2005 and 2005/2006 seasons following the so-called
Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.
The matches involved in the charges were between Novara and
Siena in May 2011, which ended 2-2, and between Albinoleffe and
Siena in the same month which ended in a 1-0 defeat for Siena.
On Wednesday, Siena had six points deducted for the
forthcoming Serie A season after their plea bargain was accepted
at the second attempt.
In total, 13 clubs and 45 players and training staff are
facing disciplinary charges over the latest match-fixing
The "Calcioscommesse" scandal echoes earlier match-fixing
cases which tarnished Italian soccer in the 1980s and before the
2006 World Cup.
Prosecutors believe an international gambling ring paid
players to throw matches. Dozens of current and former players
in teams ranging from the Serie A top division down to the lower
leagues may have been involved, according to investigators.
(Reporting By Gavin Jones; editing by Barry Moody and Brian