Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
LONDON

Sunderland's Di Canio says 'basta' to Fascist' flap

English
© ANSA

(By Denis Greenan).
London, April 2 - New Sunderland manager Paolo Di
Canio has said 'basta' to a flap over his alleged extreme-right
political views, stressing he wants to focus on digging his new
team out of the mire at the foot of the Premier League.
The ex-Lazio striker and formerly self-tagged Fascist, who
was named head coach of the Black Cats Saturday, told the press
on Tuesday that would not discuss his politics.
Controversy erupted when Di Canio replaced Martin O'Neill,
causing former British foreign secretary David Miliband to step
down as deputy chairman of the club.
When asked about his current politics on Tuesday, Di Canio
responded, "I don't have to answer this question any more".
"I don't want to talk about politics. I'm not in the
Houses of Parliament, I'm not a political person, I will only
talk about football," Di Canio said.
"I don't have to answer these questions any more...I have
the utmost respect for other people's opinions, but I'm not
interested in what the papers say. I'm not arrogant, but I know
my trade and and I know who I am. In the past I said a lot of
things but certain people took my words out of context. My life
speaks for itself...it's a ridiculous and pathetic situation".
Sunderland rallied behind the new coach Tuesday, calling
the "mud-raking" about his past "insulting" to his recent
record, but the Durham Miners' Association, stalwart fans of the
northeastern club, asked for a banner dedicated to miners to be
taken down from the Stadium of Light.
Di Canio reiterated his only thoughts were on the next
match, against mighty Chelsea, and the six others that stand in
the way of Sunderland's retention of its top-tier status.
"I'm ready to bet anything that I can save this club," he
said.
The former West Ham striker has openly admitted in the
past to having Fascist leanings.
He told ANSA in 2005 that he was "a Fascist, not a
racist".
Di Canio was fined by the international football
federation FIFA twice in 2005 for giving the straight-arm salute
used by Fascists.
The 44-year-old retired striker first went to Britain as a
player in 1996 joining Celtic, then played for Glasgow, West Ham
and Charlton.
As a player, Di Canio's rebellious spirit often caused him
problems with coaches and officials. In 1999 he was banned for
11 matches and fined £100,000 for pushing over a referee.
But two years later British fans saw a very different side
to Di Canio's character, when he opted to catch the ball rather
than shoot during a league match for West Ham, because the
opposition goalkeeper was on the ground injured.
The gesture won him the 2001 FIFA Fair Play award.

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