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Prosecutor in match-fixing appeal

The chief prosecutor in the Italian match-fixing investigation has appealed against the decision of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) to acquit seven players, including Italy internationals Leonardo Bonucci and Simone Pepe.

Juventus players Bonucci and Pepe, members of last season's title-winning squad, were cleared of any involvement, as were Salvatore Masiello, Daniel Padelli, Giuseppe Vives, Nicola Belmonte and Montreal Impact striker Marco Di Vaio.

Testimony by former Bari defender Andrea Masiello was dismissed on the grounds that it was too inconsistent, meaning the charges against the Juventus pair were dropped.

As a result, the alleged fixing of the Bari-Udinese, Bari-Bologna and Bari-Lecce matches was not considered, meaning Bonucci, Pepe, Daniele Padelli, Giuseppe Vives, Nicola Belmonte, Salvatore Masiello and Montreal Impact striker Marco Di Vaio were all cleared.

Now reports in the Italian press say Stefano Palazzi believes Masiello's evidence can be used, and has filed a formal appeal with the Federal Court of Justice that covers all three games and also Albinoleffe-Siena - a match Juventus coach Conte, then at Siena, was ruled to have had knowledge that fixing was happening in.

The seven players, as well as Udinese, will have seven days to again prepare their legal teams before the court begins to consider the appeal on August 20.

Last week, Conte was banned for ten months in the aftermath of the match-fixing scandal. His deputy, Angelo Alessio, was banned for eight.

The FIGC confirmed that it had banned Conte for failing to report unsporting behaviour in relation to a match-fixing investigation. The charges related to his time at Siena in 2010-11.

Charges of direct involvement in match-fixing levelled against Conte were dismissed in July, but the FIGC ruled that it was satisfied he was aware it was happening during his time with Siena.

Juve said they would stand by their coach and put Massimo Carrero, a member of his staff, in charge during games. They issued a statement which said: "Juventus Football Club warmly welcomes the acquittal of its players Leonardo Bonucci and Simone Pepe, and reiterates its full support for Antonio Conte and Angelo Alessio in the hope the next stage of the process [an appeal] will finally prove their innocence.

"A group of legal professionals have been appointed by the individuals concerned and, with the full support of the club, is already working to prepare grounds for an appeal.''