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Italian FA wait after Puma back Conte

The Italian FA (FIGC) are waiting to hear back from Antonio Conte about becoming the new Italy coach after receiving the backing of Puma to pay his wages.

Conte is the frontrunner among four candidates to replace Cesare Prandelli, who stepped down after the World Cup. The last stumbling block to appointing the former Juventus coach appears to have been passed with sponsors Puma announcing they will cover the shortfall in Conte's salary.

All that now remains is for the Lecce-born coach, who led Juve to three straight Serie A titles, to accept the offer.

"We will support the FIGC," said Puma in a statement on Thursday. "Our objective is to be successful together."

Their funds will bridge a gap of almost three million euros between what Conte was earning at the Bianconeri and the maximum the FIGC are willing to pay for the new coach -- the same salary Prandelli was earning.

Conte is understood to be attracted by the hands-on role being offered. He will be given total responsibility for the senior Italy squad, including the organisation of training camps, as well as for the under-21s with almost daily contact with club coaches and Italian players.

A decision is expected imminently with new FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio keen to unveil his choice ahead of Monday's first federation assembly under his stewardship. On September 9, Italy start their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against Norway in Oslo.

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