Chelsea have continued their efforts to clean up their image by appointing Antonio Conte, a man accused of being involved in a match-fixing scandal back in Italy, as the permanent replacement for José Mourinho, who departed Stamford Bridge earlier this season.
Conte, who currently manages the Italian national side, was due to appear in court over his role in two alleged fixes – for which he was punished with a lengthy ban in 2012 – concerning his time in charge of Siena, with end of season results against Novara and AlbinoLeffe were supposedly arranged in advance. While Conte wasn’t involved in organising the scandal, he was found guilty of failing to report it to the Italian football authorities.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: ‘We are delighted Antonio accepted our offer, especially as we are set to lose our inspirational leader John Terry in the summer. All of us are confident that, with the titles he won whilst in charge of Juventus, as well as the court case currently proceeding against him for sports fraud, as well as his four month ban already served for his role in fixing matches, that we have found ourselves a manager who truly embodies everything that Chelsea Football Club is about’.
Chelsea supporter Vince Wainwright, while shopping at Chelsea’s megastore, said: ‘We were all wondering who’d step in for Terry as the nation’s sweetheart, and now we know. Given Conte’s reputation for skullduggery, I think we’re in for an interesting season all told’.
Meanwhile Guus Hiddink, who has been in temporary charge of the Pensioners since Mourinho’s departure, has been told by owner Roman Abramovich that it may be in his best interests to stick around West London until Christmas.
Chelsea, who currently lie in mid table, have shown an improvement in results after a disastrous start to the season, and remain hopeful of securing a Europa League place by the end of the year.