Italy coach Conte wants hearing over match-fixing allegations

Italy coach Antonio Conte is under investigation over match-fixing allegations when he was in charge of Siena. 

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

ROME — Italy coach Antonio Conte is seeking a hearing before prosecutors in Cremona investigating him for match-fixing.

Lawyers for the Italian football federation made the request recently, prosecutor Roberto Di Martino said Thursday.

”It’s normal. A lot of people under investigation have asked for hearings,” Di Martino told The Associated Press. ”Now we just need to figure out when to hold the hearing.”

Conte was among 130 people formally notified by state prosecutors in February that they are under investigation for match-fixing in a case that has stretched back nearly five years.

Conte is being investigated for committing sports fraud when he coached Siena in 2010-11.

The football federation is hoping to prevent Conte from being indicted, which could put his status at risk for next year’s European Championship.

Conte, who has denied wrongdoing, already served a four-month sports ban in the case during the 2012-13 season when he was with Juventus.

Di Martino said the sports ban has no impact on his investigation.

”They’re two different things,” he said. ”They’re independent of each other.”

The matches under investigation involving Conte are the Novara-Siena game on May 1, 2011 (which ended 2-2) and Albinoleffe-Siena (1-0) on May 29, 2011.

Players have told prosecutors that Conte was aware of the fixes.

Conte was also investigated for fixing when he coached Bari from 2007 to 2009, and the southern club was penalized a point during the 2013-14 season.

Di Martino has been working at exposing a fixing network that allegedly stretched as far as Singapore.

More than 50 people have been arrested in Italy for match-fixing since mid-2011, with matches under investigation by prosecutors in Cremona, Bari and Naples.

The investigation has also involved Italian tennis players Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace, who were both suspended by the Italian tennis federation for 40 days in February on corruption accusations after intercepted internet conversations claiming they sold matches were printed in local media last year.

After the Italian federation banned Bracciali and Starace, Di Martino was contacted by the London-based Tennis Integrity Unit.

”We need to see if they give me a hand for the foreign part of the investigation,” Di Martino said.

The integrity unit was formed by the ATP and WTA tours, the International Tennis Federation and the Grand Slam Committee.

Di Martino said the tennis part of the fixing inquiry would not conclude until after the soccer section is cleared.

”We’re on standby,” he said. ”The football part is in the conclusive phase.”