As expected, Carlo Tavecchio has been elected the new president of the Italian football federation by a majority vote, replacing Giancarlo Abete.
For readers who are unaware, Tavecchio had been battling allegations of racism in the weeks leading up to the election.
In late July while speaking at the summer assembly of Italy’s amateur leagues, the 71-year-old gave his thoughts on the influx of foreign players into Italy. A subject that has been a flashpoint topic in the country since the national team was eliminated from the World Cup in Brazil.
Tavecchio, who at the time was the Italian Football Federation vice-president and amateur leagues president, suggested that Italy should replicate England’s stringent requirements for non-European Union players.
He referred to a hypothetical name and situation while stating:
“In England, they identify the players coming in and, if they are professional, they are allowed to play.
“Here instead, we get `Opti Poba’, who previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first-team player with Lazio. That’s how it is here. In England, you need to demonstrate what you have on your CV and your pedigree.”
Tavecchio was later questioned by reporters about his comments and claimed he could not remember what he said in his speech.
“I can’t remember if I said the word ‘banana’ but I was referring to the CV and professionalism required by English football for players who come from Africa or other countries,” he said. “If anyone has interpreted my speech as offensive, I offer my apologies.”
His words were instantly reported around the world and universally treated with contempt. But the feeling was Tavecchio would remain the favorite over Demetrio Albertini, a former AC Milan player and Italy international, for the Italian football federation’s presidential seat.
Prior to the final vote, several leading Italian football clubs withdrew support for Tavecchio, who originally had the backing of all Serie A teams apart from Juventus and Roma.
But the news today is Tavecchio won 63.63 percent of the votes in the third round of balloting. While Albertini received 33.95 percent of the votes cast by the 274 delegates present. This was in addition to his first round and second round numbers of 60.2 percent and 63.18 percent respectively.