Juventus supporters are fuming. Their messiah, the former capitano and current manager Antonio Conte, is facing a potential hefty 15 months suspension by the Italian football association (FIGC).
And they’re not alone. As many as 13 teams and 44 individuals are involved in the latest Italian scandal – the Calcioscommesse.
All hell broke loose last year when it was discovered by Italian police that two Serie B players – Andrea Masiello and Filippo Carobio – received large chunks of cash to betray their teams and “sell” matches.
The two were investigated and claimed they were innocent but after realizing the prosecutors have a lot of evidences against them, they suddenly “recalled” others allegedly involved in the dirty world of match fixing. It was a clear attempt to soften their punishment.
Although declared innocent by the police, Conte and others found themselves facing allegations for a “non reporting offence” by the FIGC, meaning they allegedly knew about players selling their soul and matches but failed to report.
Chief FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi based most of his allegations on the accounts of the two players caught. Problem is that the two called “unreliable witnesses” by police investigators. Carrobio didn’t mention Conte in his first two investigations. Besides, it is, after all, his word against Conte’s and 23 (!) other players that claimed their former teammate is bluntly lying.
As for Masiello, the lad continuously lied and changed his account of events no less than four times based on what he read in sports papers covering the scandal.
Because of the FIGC’s “guilty until proven innocent” policy, plea bargains were the answer for most individuals and teams involved. Siena’s plea bargain deal was accepted, meaning they will start the new Serie A season with a six-point deduction, but Conte’s proposal – which would have seen him serve a three-month suspension and pay a fine of €200,000 – was turned down.
After that the natural born winner said “no more” and decided to go to a trial in order to clear his name.
However, it seems that the FIGC prefers criminals over honest and innocent. It doesn’t bother with evidence before contaminating reputations and trashing careers. It seems Conte lost the war before it even began.