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 By Ben Gladwell

Antonio Conte holds talks over Italy job

Carlo Tavecchio may be the new president of the Italian Football Federation but the racism row centered around comments he made refuses to subside.

Antonio Conte is among the candidates to be appointed as the new coach of Italy after holding preliminary talks with new Italian FA (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio.

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Gazzetta dello Sport claims the former Juventus coach could be in place as early as Thursday after negotiations opened up soon after Tavecchio was elected as the new FIGC president, replacing Giancarlo Abete on Monday. However, he is not the only candidate. 

"I've been working since seven this morning," Tavecchio told reporters outside FIGC headquarters in Rome on Tuesday.

"I've spoken with Conte and with three or four others. I've not had a definite answer yet, otherwise I would tell you. Conte seemed a decent person, but I cannot say any more than that."

A group of four therefore seems to have been drawn up as the candidates to replace Cesare Prandelli, who resigned after Italy's premature elimination from the World Cup. Alongside Conte, who led Juve to three consecutive Serie A titles, are rumoured to be Luciano Spalletti, Alberto Zaccheroni and Francesco Guidolin.

The new Italy coach is expected to be offered a two-year contract. He is likely to be in place by Aug. 18 at the latest. That is the date of the FIGC's first assembly under the presidency of Tavecchio. Just over a fortnight later, Italy face Netherlands in a friendly before beginning their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in Oslo against Norway.

Conte quit Juventus in July after leading the club to three straight Serie A titles.

Meanwhile, Parma president Tommaso Ghirardi says he may be convinced not to step down, should Tavecchio deliver on the promises he made during his election campaign.

Angry at being denied a place in the Europa League this season due to irregularities in the payment of taxes last season, Ghirardi tendered his resignation as Parma president as soon as the FIGC put forward Torino for a place in Europe instead of the Ducali.

Ghirardi maintains that his club are innocent and should be reinstated into the Europa League, and he says only if the FIGC can learn from their mistake will he consider retracting his resignation.

"For a year, the federation have been massacring us," he said in Gazzetta dello Sport. "Let's see if, with Tavecchio and the new board, this world [of football] can give me enough satisfaction again to return to the forefront. After two months, I don't feel it is right for me to go back on what I've done, but I think the media furore we have created and what we have suffered could have influenced these changes in the federation.

"Maybe I can find new stimuli and some support, and maybe even return to my position. If there are no changes, though, then I will not come back. It depends on the new FIGC."


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