Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Di Canio avoids fascism questions

Paolo Di Canio said his comments were taken out of context

Paolo Di Canio has refused to answer questions about whether or not he is a fascist, as scrutiny over the new Sunderland manager's political views continues.

In a stormy news conference the 44-year-old Italian was asked on several occasions if he was a fascist but did not respond. Instead he said the club had already made a very good statement and that he works for a football club, not in the Houses of Parliament.

"I don't have to answer any more this question. There was a very good statement from the club, (with) very, very clear words that came out from me," he said.

"My life speaks for me so there is no need to speak any more about this situation because it's ridiculous and pathetic. I can't every two weeks, every two months, every 10 months answer the same questions that are not really in my area. We are in a football club and not in the House of Parliament. I'm not a political person, I will talk about only football."

But the controversy surrounding his appointment to the North East club has continued to grow with the Durham Miners' Association demanding the club returns the Wearmouth Miners' Banner.

The banner is on permanent display at the Stadium of Light and the general secretary of the association, Dave Hopper, has written to the club expressing his outrage.

"I like many thousands of miners have supported Sunderland from infancy and are passionate about football. But, there are principles which are much more important," he said.

"The appointment of Di Canio is a disgrace and a betrayal of all who fought and died in the fight against fascism. Everyone must speak out and oppose this outrage and call on Ellis Short and the Sunderland board to reverse their decision."

Di Canio, who has previously been pictured making a fascist salute to Lazio fans, released a statement through the club on Monday. In it, he said opinions he had given in an interview many years ago had been taken in a very negative way and that it was not fair.

He said: "I expressed an opinion in an interview many years ago. Some pieces were taken for media convenience. They took my expression in a very, very negative way - but it was a long conversation and a long interview. It was not fair. Sometimes it suits their purpose to put big headlines and a big story. When I was in England (as a player), my best friends were Trevor Sinclair and Chris Powell, the Charlton manager - they can tell you everything about my character. Talk about racism? That is absolutely stupid - stupid and ridiculous."

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz