CONTE: I RISKED MY REPUTATION FIGHTING MATCH-FIXING CHARGES

imageThe new Chelsea manager was finally cleared of failing to report the illegal activity during his time as coach of Siena earlier this year

Antonio Conte claims he risked his reputation by fighting charges of failing to report match-fixing during his time as coach of Siena.

The new Chelsea manager was accused of doing nothing to prevent games being fixed during the 2011-12 season, when he guided the newly promoted team to a 14th-place finish.

Conte was consequently handed a 10-month ban – later reduced to four months – by the Italian Football Federation in 2012 but was finally cleared of any wrongdoing in court shortly before Euro 2016.

“The story is a bad story,” he told reporters. “It is a bad story for me. I don’t accept this. I didn’t accept it so I fought. I fought a lot against this story and I risked myself to go to have a judge because I could have chosen another way.

“I wanted to be judged and I risked with myself as I could have chosen another way to pass the time and finish [the trial]. But in my heart the story was very bad for me, my family. I saw in that moment a bad situation. Many people wrote bad things without knowing the reality.”                                                               Conte insists that he was not worried, however, by how he might be perceived if the case had not been concluded before he took over at Stamford Bridge.

“My players know me from Italy, all the players, people, all the managers,” he added. “All the people know who Antonio Conte is.

“I want always to win, I work very hard to win. All my players know me and for this season I think also that the [Italian] national team chose me as a coach in the period of the [alleged] match-fixing.”

Conte and Chelsea take on AC Milan in Minneapolis on Monday night in their final International Champions Cup fixture.

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