These are the questions that Juventus supporters have asked themselves repeatedly following the FIGC disciplinary commission's disputed decision to accept a request from prosecutor Stefano Palazzi to ban Juventus coach Antonio Conte for 10 months after he allegedly failed to report two instances of match-fixing that he claims he wasn't aware of while in charge of Siena during the 2010-11 season in Serie B.
We'll go into more detail on the circumstances surrounding the suspension and the appeal process later. But for now, let's concentrate on the importance of the coach. Where and when is his value highest? According to former Juventus boss Marcello Lippi, "10 per cent" of his work is done on the bench on a match-day and "90 per cent" is done in training during the week.
It depends of course on the individual. One often wonders if the bungling Avram Grant, for example, had any impact at all on Chelsea's run to the Champions League final in 2008. With Conte, the opposite is true. He's a workaholic.
"My wife said that if I don't change within eight or nine years I'll be worn out," he told La Repubblica. "I hope experience teaches me to expend less energy because too often I don't sleep at night, even if then at five o'clock in the morning I am very clear-headed: it's at that hour that I resolve the problems, even those regarding team selection."
The consensus is that Conte played a huge part in Juventus' Scudetto last season. The team went from back-to-back seventh place finishes in Serie A to top of the table and were unbeaten throughout the entire league campaign. Juventus won 26 more points than the year before, a 45 per cent increase. Even if you factor in the significant contribution made by last season's new signings, in particular Andrea Pirlo, there's a sense that Conte is principally responsible for the team's improvement, their new spirit and winning mentality.
What will Juventus miss in his absence then? "Something but not a lot," Lippi claims. "Antonio participates a lot in games to the extent that he loses his voice, but the work that he does in the week is more important and he'll continue to do that even in the case of receiving a suspension." Conte is banned from sitting on the bench and making contact with his staff. He is, however, still allowed to take training and oversee Juventus's preparation during the week.
As Lippi suggests, it's here that the best part of a coach's work is carried out. Pirlo agrees. "Conte is a great coach," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I've had many but no one as meticulous in their work or as good at explaining concepts as him. From a tactical and educational point of view he is even better than Ancelotti and Lippi, who also have many qualities. He prepares for games well, we study videos of our opponents three or four times a week and when we walk out on the pitch it's difficult for anything to surprise us."
But even so let's not play down the influence a coach has on the sidelines where Conte is banned. Some, like Sven-Goran Eriksson, for instance, are passive. It was something for which he was criticised when he was England manager. Shouldn't he react to what was unfolding around him? Why isn't he showing any emotions? Others, like Conte, are more demonstrative. They prowl the touchline and set the tone. They encourage their players, issue orders, making corrections and tactical changes on the fly.
From this perspective, it would be wrong to argue that a contribution isn't made and his absence won't be felt. Juventus have prepared for this eventuality. Once it became clear that the risk of Conte receiving a ban was real, they acted early, using a pre-season friendly against Malaga to trial one of his assistants, the former Juventus defender from the early to mid-90s, Massimo Carrera, as his stand-in. Juventus won 2-0.
What, though, would happen in a competitive match and how would Carrera and the team react if they went behind? We found the answer to that question out in a fiercely contested Italian Super Cup in Beijing when Juventus came back from 1-0 and then 2-1 down to win 4-2 in extra-time and lift their first piece of silverware ahead of the new season. Another good indicator was Sunday's match in the Trofeo Berlusconi. Juventus again fell behind but rallied to win 3-2 against Milan. True, it's an annual exhibition game but given its proximity to the start of the season, it's a decent barometer of a team's relative strengths and how far along they are in their preparation.
The discussion since then hasn't been so much about whether Juventus can continue winning without Conte - they have strengthened while their rivals have weakened - but when he will be back and whether it will be sooner rather than later. Juventus are confident of his innocence and have given him their full backing.
"No Plan B exists," said club president Andrea Agnelli. "I have known him for 20 years. He is a man who thinks about victory from when he wakes up until he goes to bed at night - and then he dreams about it while he sleeps."
Before the Italian Super Cup general manager Beppe Marotta expressed his conviction that, by the time the appeals process is concluded, they will have their coach back for September 10. That process began on Monday and it did so with considerable promise for Conte. Making the case for the defence were three lawyers, the foremost among them Giulia Bongiorno, famous for clearing former Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti of mafia charges and overturning the convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
She set about discrediting Conte's accuser, the former Siena midfielder Filippo Carobbio. His story has changed on several occasions leading the defence to argue that, after failing to mention Conte in earlier testimony, Carobbio - up to his neck in the Calcioscommesse scandal - constructed a lie around a big name in return for a more lenient punishment.
"I have my conscience in place," Conte told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I don't think the same can be said for who is throwing mud at me. Am I mistaken or are we talking about a former player who had admitted fixing games for years?"
A lot has been made of how Carobbio had a grudge towards Conte after he refused him permission to attend the birth of his child, something that reportedly led to a public argument between their wives. And what about the inconsistencies between the testimonies he gave first to magistrates in Cremona then to the FIGC? Carobbio alleged that during a team meeting before a match between Siena and Novara on May 1, 2011, Conte told the players that they could rest easy because an agreement had been reached with their opponents.
Carobbio's version of events that day has not been corroborated by anyone else present at the team meeting. In addition to that, he described Conte's team talk as "intense" and "charged" with motivation.
"After spurring them on, for him, I concluded by saying: 'anyway shall we draw'? It makes no sense," an exasperated Conte told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The defence is hopeful that they can win an acquittal. "From what I have heard I am very calm and confident," Conte said. "I expect to be back on the bench again against Parma [this Sunday]."
Whether he is or not remains to be seen. Either way, Juventus start the season favourites to retain their title.
James Horncastle will be blogging for us on all matters Serie A throughout the season. He contributes to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, The Blizzard and Champions magazine amongst others.