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Sunderland Manager Paolo Di Canio Refuses to Deny That He’s a Fascist

In Paolo Di Canio’s press conference this morning in Sunderland, the new manager was asked several times by BBC reporter Dan Roan to clarify whether he remains a fascist or not.

Di Canio refused to do so, instead referring each time to yesterday’s official statement.

The Sunderland manager then added:

“I spoke many times more on this. Fans have to think my life speaks for me.’

‘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.”

However, as I wrote about yesterday, Di Canio’s official statement issued yesterday by the club does nothing to set the record straight on whether he remains a fascist or not. Until he denies he’s a fascist, we can only assume that he still considers himself one as he did in a 2005 interview.

Di Canio’s appointment at Sunderland is being met by opposition from local fans. The Durham Miners’ Association have joined the opposition to Di Canio’s appointment, while some Sunderland fans have demanded that Di Canio retract his pro-fascist views.

Meanwhile, Di Canio is optimistic about his Sunderland squad, adding:

“I don’t know what has happened here but with the players we’ve got I can’t imagine why we are only one point above the relegation zone.”

“But it is important that the fans at the end are completely happy, hopefully in the next few years we can celebrate but for now it is just important to get to May 19. We know we want to stay up to maintain our position in this league. I just hope the fans will appreciate Paolo Di Canio and the players, that we are working for this club with the maximum professionalism.”

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  1. Smokey Bacon

    April 2, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Sunderland have NEVER been this interesting! In your face, Stoke!

  2. Matt

    April 2, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    I still remember when Hodgson was appointed England manager and in his introduction press conference the 2nd or 3rd question was some silly question about him “supporting” apartheid just because he was playing in South Africa at that time. Completely irrelevant unless Hodgson (or Di Canio in this scenario) brought the attention to themselves

  3. Andrew

    April 2, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    While I totally agree that foreign managers and players get much worse treatment than English ones, I don’t think that is the problem here. I’d be willing to bet any amount of money that if an English manager came out to campaign for the BNP, associated himself with the National Front, or did anything resembling supporting Fascist politics in his life, he’d be destroyed for it.

    Granted, Italian culture is different, so this shouldn’t been seen as a black and white issue. Even Alberto Aquiliani had a statue of Mussolini in his Liverpool house, if I remember correctly, but it wasn’t a huge story like this. And that’s probably because he had no history of doing so called “Roman Salutes” with a group of Ultras who are world famous for their racist and Nazi ideologies.

    Still, the facts are what they are, and anyone who didn’t expect this is foolish. England is a nation that was nearly destroyed by Fascism, and you can’t expect them to just forget that so one guy can have an easy time saving Sunderland. There has never been a Fascist government that wasn’t destructive and racist, and while it’s very possible that Di Canio himself is not a racist, he’s still associating himself with people that committed some of the worst atrocities in human history.

    If Bob Bradley came out and talked about how much he loved George Bush, supported all of our wars in the Middle East, how we should continue to fight there and occupy land with unwanted military bases, don’t you think he may have gotten a hostile response upon taking the Egypt job? That’s still not as extreme a view point at getting a Mussolini tattoo on your arm like Di Canio has, but the backlash would’ve been similarly understandable.

    Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but if you expect to be a public figure, keep them to yourself. Otherwise, you have no right to be shocked or upset when people let you know what they think about it.

  4. PhillySpur

    April 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

    With no English teams in the Champions League they need something to talk and write about. Just another example of the hyperbolic nature of Fleet Street. Why would anyone care about his politics? He’s a manager of a football team. If he keeps Sunderland up, no one will care.

  5. Philswin08

    April 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

    He’s a football manager. He’s not running for elected office. It just sounds like one reporter with an agenda to me. If he keeps Sunderland up I’m sure none of it will matter to supporters anyway.

  6. Jason

    April 2, 2013 at 11:02 am

    While people can believe whatever people want to, the fact of the matter is that Sunderland have failed in the sense that every player/manager etc… that has a public image is a reflection of the club and will then effect other areas of business such as sponsorship, transfers etc…Additionally, this guy doesn’t have any top tier managerial experience.

  7. Mufc77

    April 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

    From a personal point of view I don’t really care if he is or he isn’t a fascist as he’s entitled to his own opinions, nobody has to agree with him.

    From a footballing standpoint this is a total PR disaster for Sunderland.

  8. Matt

    April 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Another example of the English media attacking a foreign manager for no reason. They did it with Laudrup but he shut the media up and made them look foolish quick and it happened with Pochettino and it looks like he will shut them up quick too

    Does it really matter? I don’t care what he believes in his personal life.

    It’s my “foreign manager” theory, they will attack 99% of them other than maybe Mourinho and Guardiola, they will find something and blow it up. The difference with Di Canio is he was at Swindon but I don’t remember it being a big deal then

    • Dave

      April 2, 2013 at 10:21 am

      Swindon were a League 2 side when he was appointed (he got them promoted to League 1). At the time one of their sponsors backed out because of Di Canio’s fascist sympathies. It wasn’t that big a deal because this was in the 4th tier of English football.

      Di Canio won’t deny he is a fascist because of his past statements and actions on the subject. Since there is no law in England that bars employment for fascist views the only thing people who disagree with his poltical views can do is speak out against him.

      Sunderland fans won’t care what Di Canio believes in as long as he keeps them from relegation.

  9. Scrumper

    April 2, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I don’t think Sunderland would really care if Di Canio believed geese were agents of satan and he barked at the moon every Friday, as long as he can keep them up.

  10. StellaWasAlwaysDown

    April 2, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I don’t understand why fans want him to retract his views. It won’t change them. At least he is out there and honest about it. I doubt he is the first manager to hold those views, and would say there have been worst managers (personality-wise) who weren’t fascists in the EPL. Sunderland fans need to be worried about their season.

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