Incoming Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has been cleared of any wrongdoing in an investigation into match-fixing allegations dating back to 2011.
Conte, who will take charge of the Blues after he has led Italy to the European Championships in France this summer, had been accused of turning a blind eye to a match fixing scandal five years ago when he was in charge of the Italian side Siena. He denied he had done anything wrong, though he did serve a ban connected to the case in 2012.
The 46-year-old was acquitted by a judge in the Italian city of Cremona, owing to the fact that the judge felt the accusations against Conte were baseless. His ban in August of 2012 was originally for ten months, though an Italian sports tribunal later reduced that to four months. He was banned for ‘not reporting alleged match-fixing’ involving Siena during the 2010-2011 season, though he was manager of Juventus at the time of said ban.
Juventus have had their own problems with match-fixing in the past, of course, having their Serie A title stripped from them and getting relegated to Serie B at the end of the 2005-2006 season after being found guilty of match fixing alongside Lazio and Fiorentina.
Conte, who became the national coach of Italy in 2014, will take over at Chelsea after the Euros. The Stamford Bridge club had been searching for a new permanent manager since the owner, Roman Abramovich, sacked Jose Mourinho for the second time last December. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ had led the club to their worst start to a top-flight campaign since the early 1960s, when a win was worth two points instead of three.
Guus Hiddink was appointed on an interim basis for the second time during his career, having previously arrived in West London to replace Luis Felipe Scolari when the Brazilian was sacked in 2009. The news that Conte has been cleared of any wrongdoing will be a relief to the Chelsea hierarchy, with the club keen to avoid any more controversy.
Both Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho himself are currently in the middle of separate lawsuits involving Eva Carneiro, the club’s former doctor who felt she was belittled and humiliated by Mourinho in the aftermath of Chelsea’s opening game of the season, when the Portuguese manager suggested she was naive to enter the field of play to treat the winger Eden Hazard, despite the player appearing injured and the referee calling the medical team onto the pitch several times.