Di Canio says he does not support “ideology” of fascism

LONDON – New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio distanced himself from “the ideology of fascism” on Wednesday and said he had been deeply hurt by condemnation of the Premier League club for appointing him.
Di Canio took charge of his first training session at Sunderland. Net photo.
Di Canio took charge of his first training session at Sunderland. Net photo.

LONDON – New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio distanced himself from “the ideology of fascism” on Wednesday and said he had been deeply hurt by condemnation of the Premier League club for appointing him.

The Italian’s arrival at the Stadium of Light has been shadowed by his past, with the media focusing on his professed admiration of wartime dictator Benito Mussolini and a 2005 declaration that he was “a fascist, not a racist”.

In a statement published on the club’s website, Di Canio said he had wanted to focus on football but had felt forced to address other matters after days of controversy.

“I have been deeply hurt by the attacks on the football club,” said the manager, who as a Lazio player in 2005 celebrated a goal against rivals Roma with a straight-arm fascist-style salute to his club’s fans.

“This is a historic, proud and ethical club and to read and hear some of the vicious and personal accusations is painful. I am an honest man, my values and principles come from my family and my upbringing.

“I will say one thing only - I am not the man that some people like to portray,” the 44-year-old continued. “I am not political, I do not affiliate myself to any organisation, I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism. I respect everyone.”

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