It seems clubs, managers and players of Italian Football never learn their lesson, or learn from an example. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) is finding itself in a similar situation as in the 1980′s and 2006, being forced to rid football of match-fixing and scandal once again. “Calcioscommesse” has rocked the Italian headlines, well, except for Juventus’ supposed contract for Robin Van Persie which is apparently locked in someone’s desk. At the heart of calcioscommesse is the aforementioned Juventus, all thanks to manager Antonio Conte, Simone Pepe and Leonardo Bonucci. The Bianconeri trio are being accused for their individual involvement in match-fixing during the 2011 and 2012 campaigns.
During his tenure as manager of Siena, Conte allegedly failed to report match-fixing between Siena and Novara in 2011. Conte has claimed his innocence on different occasions, but it’s hard to believe. What “innocent” man would propose and be willing to accept a plea bargain in which he’d serve a three-month ban and €200,000 fine. The FIGC was quick to reject Conte’s plea deal and now the Scudetto winning manager could face a 15-month ban for his actions. Pepe and Bonucci have both been indicted for the Udinese and Bari match on May 9, 2012. Pepe faces similar charges as Conte. The winger failed to report alleged acts of sporting fraud to officials, while Bonucci’s situation is a little more serious. The former Bari defender is being accused of direct involvement in sporting fraud, which resulted in the Bari-Udinese match ending in a draw. Bonucci could face a ban of three years and six months, topping the 26-month suspension handed to Atalanta’s Andrea Masiello this morning.
The trio was given support by club president Andrea Agnelli, which came as a shock. Juventus is infamously known for its involvement in the 2006 scandal, resulting in the clubs relegation to Serie B. Juventus should do what ever it can to separate itself from the recent scandal, but Agnelli’s support does quite the opposite. The future of Bonucci, Conte and Pepe casts doubt on the Bianconeri. If the trio faces punishment by the FIGC for its involvement it would definitely cause problems for the upcoming campaign. It’s unsure how this is going to work out for the club, but at least Juventus fans have Van Persie’s potential arrival to take their minds off calcioscommesse.