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Juventus coach's match-fixing ban reduced from 10 to 4 months

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Associated Press
10/5/2012 11:40:37 AM
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ROME -- Juventus coach Antonio Conte's match-fixing ban was reduced from 10 to four months Friday by Italy's sports arbitration court.

Conte can now return Dec. 8 instead of next June.

The ban stems from wrongdoing when Conte coached Siena in Serie B two seasons ago.

The reduction came after the panel apparently concluded that Conte did not keep forward Salvatore Mastronunzio out of Siena's squad because he refused to take part in fixing, as had been suggested.

Conte remains guilty of failing to report fixing in a match between Siena and Albinoleffe in the 2010-11 season.

Conte came under suspicion during the testimony of Filippo Carobbio, who played under Conte at Siena. After he was arrested, Carobbio said his former coach was aware of a fix for the 2-2 draw between Novara and Siena in May, 2011.

FIFA extended the ban worldwide last month.

"My view hasn't changed. Antonio Conte is an innocent man and completely innocent of what he has been accused of," Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said. "The confirmation of the ban is unfair and should make people pause for reflection over the entire football system."

Conte's first match back will come at Palermo on Dec. 9, and he'll also be available if Juventus advances to the knockout phase of the Champions League.

Assistant coach Massimo Carrera has been filling in on the touchline while Conte is unavailable, and after six matches, Juventus is tied for the Serie A lead with Napoli.

In all, Conte will have missed 15 Serie A matches and all six of Juve's group games in the Champions League. After two matches, Juventus has two points in the Champions League, two points behind Group E leaders Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk.

In Conte's first season with Juve, the Bianconeri went undefeated for their first Serie A title since before the 2006 match-fixing scandal. The unbeaten run in the league is now at 45 matches, second only to AC Milan's record 58, set during the 1990-91, 91-92, and 92-93 seasons.

Antonio Conte (Photo: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
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