We requested this press conference because I think the time has come, after much waiting and a long silence from my part (as a principle of decency for those who were carrying out the investigation, those who had to judge, those who had to do their work). I have listened to everyone while remaining silent, even heard someone say “but why are you keeping silent?”. But I respected — as I always have — the rules, both in and off the field: in this matter I think I behaved very much correctly.
This is an absurd matter. And I think the absurdity reached it peak yesterday, where we had the icing on the cake: I was appalled, shocked by the declarations of a member of the committee that judged me. Something serious, something never seen before. I define the behavior on the part of this gentleman [Piero Sandulli - Ed.] as improper and well outside regulations. Let’s talk about regulations: this gentleman should respect regulations. He should, above all, enforce them. Instead, what do I see? I see a man who perhaps, to appear on the front page of all national newspapers thanks to me and my name, makes very inappropriate statements. Whether he did so as a fan of another team I don’t know, but certainly inappropriate, and which make me think that maybe this man holds a personal grudge against me.
As I said I have always behaved properly, always, despite the pain and the knowledge that I have suffered a grave injustice. A serious injustice. Today I think it’s time to dot the I’s and cross the T’s.
Novara-Siena: it’s been 7 months I’ve been on the front page of newspapers, in news shows of national and private televisions. 7 months that my face is always shown together with Calcioscommesse. Me, who never gambled in my life. 7 months that you continue to talk about this “famous” — because it has now become extremely famous –technical meeting before Novara-Siena, where I allegedly spoke to my players reassuring everyone about a fixed draw.
Let me explain the concept of a technical meeting: the technical meeting is something sacred. On the Sunday before the game, the technical meeting is where we talk about technique, tactics, show pictures, on how to hurt the opponent, how not to get hurt ourselves. Then comes a motivational speech from my part, a highly motivational one, in which — depending to the situation — I amp up my players even more or release their tension. And supposedly, after I do all this… after all this work in preparing the game – where I talk about technical & tactical aspects, about exceptionally high motivations – what do I do then? “Guys today don’t worry, it’s all right: we draw.” I cover myself in ridicule in front of 25 people… in front of their families (because they’d no doubt tell the story to them), in front of their agents. THIS was the infamous accusation that led Calcioscommesse to Antonio Conte. To becoming its poster-boy. Me! Someone who has never placed a bet in his life.
Today I find that Mr. Carobbio… Mr. “Pippo” (because it is “Pippo” for the prosecution, not Filippo Carobbio… it’s PIPPO, because they now go together like peanut butter and jelly) is considered a “collaborator of justice”. Seeing that he was questioned 5 times, seeing that he was last questioned on July 10, before *I* was questioned, I would consider him more a “handyman” of a *supposed* justice.
The prosecution of Cremona considers Mr. Pippo a liar. A LIAR. That is, “not credible”. Whereas for the Federal Prosecutor, Pippo Carobbio (not Filippo) is a “highly credible person,” whereas Antonio Conte “less credible”… “Not credible” even. I think that credibility, in life, is something you earn every day. And I think that throughout my life, I have gained GREAT credibility. Unlike those who have sold matches, sold themselves, their family, and their teammates for the past three years! And yet the words coming out of the federal prosecutor, words I’m forced to hear, are him being defined “highly credible” and I “not credible”.
Do you know the Federal Prosecution? Do you know the *methods* the Federal Prosecutor uses? You’ve read about them. Maybe they have gone unnoticed in Locatelli & Poloni’s interviews, but not to me. What do Locatelli and Poloni say? “We have not said what they wanted to hear. We didn’t name big names in order to get a leaner sentence.” THAT’s what they say.
What they say is chilling!! CHILLING!! But this isn’t something justice scholars are interested in. The methods of the sports prosecution aren’t interesting, especially when it comes to obtaining a plea bargain. The plea bargain? Plea bargaining is blackmail! Plea bargaining is BLACKMAIL! Unfortunately the kind which is also perpetrated by our own lawyers. I am innocent, yet I have to hear this from my lawyer: “You know, maybe, given this justice which doesn’t allow us to defend ourselves, to show your innocence to the fullest, why risk it? Let’s plea bargain”. Me, an innocent person! Me like many others, because there has been a run-up to obtaining all these plea bargains. From this form of “justice”, plea bargains are blackmail, plain and simple!! [voice breaks]
This is a disgrace. A DISGRACE. Today I can say it because it is all over. Well, I say “over” because it is with them, there is still another appeal. Fortunately it IS over with them. Novara-Siena is a shameful accusation against me, against any coach. [Carobbio] questioned my credibility in the locker room. But those who know me know who Antonio Conte is, just as all players of Juventus do. Despite the news came out during the campionato, this never created problems in my work. FALSE news. Today I say “false news”: I already had these thoughts before, but I could not express them.
A disgraceful accusation against the coach, one who should be the LEADER, who must transmit positive values, who must transmit victory on the field. In 5 years I have won 3 championships: one Scudetto and 2 promotions. Am I unpleasant because I win? It is not my problem. I do my job, I do it to the maximum of my ability, demanding the fullest out of myself first, and then out of my players and the club that I work for. Does it bother someone? Not my problem.
Novara-Siena: acquitted. ACQUITTED! Beautiful, the shameful accusation has fallen. All that is left is that other part, the thing that during all these months no one ever mentioned in the newspapers. Heh heh… wrong. There’s Albinoleffe-Siena, where “Conte couldn’t not know.” The lawyers had to take 5 hours to explain to me what “couldn’t not know” means, and if you ask me again now I still have doubts. I don’t think I’m a moron under this aspect.
So, a “failure to report” is gone and you tell yourself: it’s 10 months for two failures to report. One’s left. So you say… maybe the sentence is gonna go down: from 10 it will go down to 5. No! 10 remains 10. Absurd. And today I can say it: everything that has happened to me is ABSURD. The Juventini population and ALL the soccer fans need to know what was done to me, and what is being done to me. Because it’s a disgrace. A disgrace!
They tell me: “Let me explain to you what ‘failure to report’ means, so we can understand each other. (…) It means that I should, if I see something, report it. But if I have not seen anything, WHAT DO I HAVE TO REPORT?! Should I *invent* a report!? What on Earth are we talking about here? WHAT ON EARTH are we talking about?!
I tell you frankly, now after this event, I’m starting to be afraid to go in the locker room, the place where I have to be a leader, and… I don’t know, maybe pick a fight with a player! I’m fearful of maybe sending a player in the stands for the match, because tomorrow what? One goes mad, he gets up, starts to “report”… and this is what “justice” today has proven. Justice today has demonstrated that a person who for three and a half years sold matches, sold himself, his family, and his teammates, is believed to be telling the truth. So I’m afraid. I’m scared. Or maybe I should put a television camera on my forehead, and everywhere I go I’ll have the TV camera, so that 24 hours a day I’ll record what happens to me. Otherwise one has no choice but to be afraid.
I’ll say one more thing to my colleagues and players: today this happened to me and many others. Tomorrow it can happen to THEM! Don’t bury your heads in the sand and say “whatever, it’s happened to him” or “it happened to them, the others who have been charged.” It can happen to anyone! Open your eyes!
Manager Juventus F.C.