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Oct 5, 2012

Conte ban reduced to four months

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has had his ten-month suspension over match-fixing reduced to four by Italy's sporting arbitration court.

The verdict means the 43-year-old will be back on the touchline for the Italian champions when they take on Palermo on December 9.

Conte was suspended by the Italian Football Federation after being accused of failing to report match-fixing in games against Novara and Albinoleffe during his time as coach of Siena in Serie B.

Conte had his ten-month ban upheld by an Italian football tribunal in August. Rejecting his appeal, the tribunal ruled that the ban on the coach would stand.

Although the tribunal modified the original verdict, acquitting him of wrongdoing in the game against Novara, it upheld the sentence, but his lawyers then took the case to the sporting court.

The terms of Conte's ban prohibit any touchline activity but have allowed him to coach his players during the week. Technical director Massimo Carrera is currently assuming touchline control on matchdays.

In September, a FIFA committee extended Conte's suspension worldwide - meaning he also could not manage in the Champions League.

Conte, who will have missed 15 league matches by the time his ban ends, was banned after a major investigation into irregular betting patterns and incidents of match-fixing involving 45 people and 13 clubs.

In a statement, Conte's lawyers said: "We are aware that we have defended an innocent man and not been able to secure a verdict that clears him of involvement in the contested facts.

"We therefore feel no sense of satisfaction."

Club president Andrea Agnelli told the club's official website that the ban had been a "miscarriage of justice" and added: "I maintain my view, which is shared by everyone at Juventus, that Antonio Conte is an innocent man and in no way guilty of the charges levelled at him.

"The confirmation of his suspension was an injustice which should prompt the entire footballing system to ask itself questions."

"We at Juventus await the return of our coach to the dugout, where he can fully demonstrate his talent and continue the work he does on a daily basis, showing commitment and dedication to the team."

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