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FIGC respond to Conte criticism

The president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has responded angrily to claims suspended Juventus coach Antonio Conte has not been treated severely enough.

Last week the manager of the current Serie A champions and his assistant Angelo Alessio were handed 10-month bans for failing to report two incidents of match-fixing during their time in charge of Siena.

Juve’s technical director Massimo Carrera has assumed control of first-team affairs until Conte completes his suspension, and began life at the helm by claiming the Supercoppa with victory over Napoli in Beijing.

Conte’s suspension, however, does not forbid him from coaching his players at La Vecchia’s training ground during the week, a fact that inspired Roma manager Zdenek Zeman to criticise the FIGC’s ruling on Sunday.

Despite not naming Conte, he told the Gazzetta dello Sport:

“A suspended player can train, but I don’t think a coach serving a lengthy ban should be able to train his players.

“I’m not fully appraised of the verdicts of the match-fixing trial, but I think the problem needs to be dealt with more decisively.”

And on Wednesday FIGC president Giancarlo Abete railed against Zeman’s comments, telling Tuttosport:

“If the situation doesn’t concern someone, they shouldn’t talk about it.

“It’s easy to suggest the rules need changing but, as it stands, the rules say that a banned coach can train his players during the week.”

Juventus’ general manager Giuseppe Marotta had already reacted negatively to Zeman’s outburst. On Sunday, in an interview featured on juventus.com, he told Sky Sport 24:

“As a football man and the general manager of Juventus, I feel Zeman’s comments are inappropriate.

“He was referring to Conte even though he didn’t mention him specifically. It was either a joke, and therefore a worthless comment, or an intentional gibe.

“He admitted he hadn’t read the documentation himself and that he couldn’t explain this first-instance ruling given to a fellow coach from the same association, who has been sentenced for failure to report rather than for any violation.”