Conte is Italian Football Federation chief's first choice

Alex Livesey  Getty Images Sport

The 74-year-old stepped down from his role during a meeting at FIGC headquarters in Rome on Monday after facing enormous pressure to quit after Italy's poor campaign.

"I resigned and, as a purely political act, I asked the board to do so too, but no one did", Mr Tavecchio said in a news conference.

It comes after Italy's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russian Federation.

Italy are now without a manager after Gian Piero Ventura was sacked this week, following Italy's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. "They didn't", he said.

However, Chelsea boss Conte - fresh from winning the Premier League in his first season at the Blues - remains the No1 target for Italy.

Italian FA Chief Carlos Tavecchio is believed to have earmarked Chelsea manager Antonio Conte as the first choice candidate to take over the mantle from Ventura.

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Speaking to reporters immediately after Monday's meeting, Tavecchio said he wanted to "apologise to all Italians", adding: "Now's the time for Italian football to embark on a new era".

Tavecchio was in the midst of searching for Ventura's replacement as he identified Chelsea boss Antonio Conte as a potential successor for the job. "It's not true that they don't want to come as long as I'm president".

There had been widespread calls in the Southern European country for him to resign.

Italy reached the Euro 2016 quarter-finals but that proved to be the high point of their achievements in Tavecchio's controversial time in charge. UEFA banned him for six months after he made a reference to bananas when discussing the presence of foreign players in Italy during his first election campaign.

"Then when we get to June, who will be free?"

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