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Pirlo kicks the sun

The Toe Poke
 By Ben Gladwell

Antonio Conte favourite for Italy job

Carlo Tavecchio has been elected as president of Italy's Football Association, despite recent accusations of racism.

Antonio Conte is the frontrunner to become Italy's next coach with an appointment due within a week.

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The former Juventus coach, who walked out on the Bianconeri on only the second day of preseason training, is understood to be the No. 1 choice of Carlo Tavecchio, who was elected Italian FA (FIGC) president on Monday.

One of Tavecchio's first remits is to appoint a successor to Cesare Prandelli, who resigned following the World Cup, and Conte remains in pole position, albeit with a catch. The former Juve coach may be too expensive for the FIGC, which are looking for a cheaper option after Prandelli.

A maximum salary of three million euros is reported to be on offer to the future Italy coach, who is expected to be given only a two-year contract through to the end of Euro 2016. According to, Conte would still consider a role which, according to Tavecchio's election manifesto, would encompass overseeing all of the national teams, including the youth selections.

Tavecchio -- who was accused of making racist remark during his FIGC campaign -- is reportedly no longer looking for a pure coach of the senior national team, but rather a manager figure who will ensure the progression of players through the levels as part of a longer-term project. Arrigo Sacchi had held a similar role until he resigned recently.

An alternative could be the appointment of two men -- one to assume Sacchi's former duties and the other dedicating himself to the senior team, like Prandelli. That, however, would see the budget for each position halved.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the alternatives to Conte are Alberto Zaccheroni, who recently left his role as coach of Japan, or Roberto Mancini. Udinese's technical director and former coach Francesco Guidolin is being considered for the supervisory role, should that approach be taken.

Either way, Tavecchio has announced that Aug. 18, the date of his first assembly as FIGC president, is the deadline for an appointment to be made. That date is only a fortnight ahead of the national team's next game against Netherlands in a friendly on Sep. 4. Five days later, the Azzurri begin their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against Norway in Oslo.


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