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Football: Italy elect racist to lead governing body

Carlo Tavecchio appointed Italian Football Federation president

Carlo Tavecchio, the candidate at the centre of a racism controversy, has been elected as the new president of the Italian Football Federation.

The 71-year-old beat former AC Milan player Demetrio Albertini after three rounds of voting in Rome, the governing body announced through its official Twitter account yesterday afternoon.

Tavecchio drew heavy criticism last month for making an allegedly racist comment about “eating bananas” during an address to a summer assembly of Italy’s amateur leagues and was also accused of sexism in an interview back in 2009.

But despite the fact Serie A clubs including Fiorentina and Sampdoria withdrew their backing in the weeks leading up to the elective assembly, Tavecchio was confirmed as Giancarlo Abete’s successor at the FIGC when polling 63.33 per cent of the third-round votes after the first two rounds proved inconclusive.

He polled 60.20 per cent to Albertini’s 35.46 per cent in the first round, which had required a quorum of 75 per cent, and had 63.18 per cent of the votes to his opponent’s 34.07 per cent in a second round requiring a quorum of 66 per cent.

The delegation was comprised of 278 representatives from Serie A, Serie B, the Lega Pro, the Amateur League, the Players’ Association, the Coaches’ Association and the Referees’ Association.

The Lega Pro, which represents 60 third and fourth division teams, last week said nearly all of its members would back Tavecchio, who had been vice-president of the FIGC since 2009.

The campaign against his candidacy began when he made an allegedly racist comment when using a fictional example to try to make a point about the number of foreign players in the Italian leagues.

Quoted in La Repubblica, Tavecchio said: “England identifies the players coming in and, if they are professional, they are allowed to play.

“Here, on the other hand, let’s say there’s (fictional player) Opti Poba, who has come here, who previously was eating bananas and now is a first-team player for Lazio.

“In England he has to demonstrate his CV and his pedigree.”

He subsequently apologised but Fifa has since asked the FIGC to conduct an investigation into the comments and to report its findings back to the world governing body.

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