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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 22, 2006

Lippi gets vote of confidence ahead of World Cup

FLORENCE, Italy, May 22 (Reuters) - Italy coach Marcello Lippi, who has faced calls to resign, has been given a vote of confidence by the head of the Italian Football Federation.

'I have total and full confidence in Lippi,' federation emergency administrator Guido Rossi told reporters at Italy's pre-World Cup training camp.

Magistrates summoned Lippi on Friday as a witness in an investigation into allegations surrounding his former club Juventus. He is expected to be questioned more extensively next week.

Lippi denied last week that former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi, who is at the centre of match-fixing allegations, forced him to select certain players for the national side.

Lippi's son Davide is also an agent at the GEA players and coaches management agency being probed by authorities.

Some politicians and newspapers called for Lippi to resign before the World Cup in Germany which starts on June 9 as a step towards improving the image of Italian football.

But Rossi, who was appointed following the resignation of Federation president Franco Carraro, said that was out of the question.

'I have never had any doubt about his position - it would have been a total folly to put the blame on Lippi and avoid the people really responsible for this situation,' said Rossi.

Lippi repeated his denial of any involvement in any wrongdoing.

'Let me be clear once again for the final time - I have never had an agent in my life, I have never had a relationship with GEA. My son has never been my agent.

'I have had a rapport with Moggi and other people in football but I have never received any pressure,' said the Italy coach.

'This is the last time that I will deal with these matters and from this afternoon I will think only about the team and the World Cup,' he added.

'I've read a lot of things in the newspapers that have shown bad faith and I will be sueing soon,' said Lippi.

Italy play Ghana, the Czech Republic and the United States in Group E at the World Cup finals.