Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

David Miliband quits Sunderland role over Paolo Di Canio appointment as successor to Martin O'Neill

New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has courted controversy in the past
New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has courted controversy in the past

David Miliband announced last night that he has quit his role with Sunderland Football Club following the appointment of controversial new manager Paolo Di Canio.

The former foreign secretary, who is stepping down as an MP, said he has resigned as vice-chairman and non-executive director of the club due to the Italian's "past political statements".

Di Canio's appointment comes after Sunderland sacked their Northern Irish manager Martin O'Neill following Saturday's defeat by Manchester United.

Di Canio (44) has been accused of fascist views after appearing to give a straight-arm salute while playing for Italian club Lazio.

He made the announcement via a statement on his personal website, www.davidmiliband.net.

It said: "I wish Sunderland AFC all success in the future.

"However, in the light of the new manager's past political statements, I think it right to step down."

Di Canio has admitted to having fascist leanings, telling Italian news agency ANSA in 2005: "I am a fascist, not a racist."

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