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Conte risks second ban in soccer scam

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By Alberto Cagliano

Rome - Juventus coach Antonio Conte will be called as a witness in a match-fixing trial in Bari and could face a second ban this season for failing to alert sport authorities, Italian media reported Tuesday quoting prosecutors in Bari.

Conte on December 9 ended a four-month ban he received from the Italian football federation for not reporting a rigging attempt while coaching Siena in the 2010-2011 season.

Investigators in Bari are about to close a probe on two Serie B games that the home side played against Treviso, in 2008, and Salernitana, in 2009. Conte managed Bari from 2007 to 2009.

About 20 people have been investigated and could be charged with sports fraud in a preliminary hearing where a judge evaluates the prosecutors' requests. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Among them are former Bari players Andrea Ranocchia, now at Inter Milan, Torino's Belgian goalkeeper Jean Francois Gillet, and defender Cristian Stellini.

Ranocchia is expected to be acquitted in the preliminary hearing as prosecutors are said to have found no relevant evidence against him, but he and Conte could still be banned by sports judges for failing to report rigging attempts they knew about.

Stellini ended his playing career at Bari in 2010 and became assistant coach to Conte at Siena and Juventus. He resigned from his post at Juve in August after being found guilty in a corruption trial on games played by Siena and Bari. Sapa-dpa

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