Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio: 'I do not support the ideology of fascism'

Manager issues statement claiming he is principled but not political

Paolo Di Canio was forced to issue a statement this afternoon declaring he does not support the ideology of fascism following intense criticism since his appointment as the new manager of Sunderland on Sunday.

Di Canio finally addressed the issue that has provoked a national storm which led to the resignation of David Miliband as non-executive director of the club on Sunday night, in protest at the appointment because of an interview in 2005 when the Italian said he was a fascist.

The 44-year-old repeatedly turned down the opportunity at his unveiling as Martin O’Neill’s successor at the Academy of Light on Tuesday to denounce his previous position regarding fascism.

“I have clearly stated that I do not wish to speak about matters other than football, however, I have been deeply hurt by the attacks on the football club,” yesterday’s statement read. “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 feel that I should not have to continually justify myself to people who do not understand this, however, I will say one thing only – I am not the man that some people like to portray. 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.

“I am a football man and this and my family are my focus. Now I will speak only of football.”

Di Canio’s statement came after the very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, the Dean of Durham and a Sunderland supporter, had said he was struggling to stay loyal to the club and that he found Di Canio’s “self-confessed fascism deeply troubling”.

In an open letter, he wrote: “Your appointment raises difficult questions. I am the child of a Jewish war refugee who got out of Germany and came to Britain just in time. Some of her family and friends perished in the Nazi death camps. So I find your self-confessed fascism deeply troubling.

“Fascism was nearly the undoing of the world. It cost millions of innocent lives. Mussolini, who you say has been deeply misunderstood, openly colluded with it. You are said to wear a tattoo ‘Dux’ which speaks for itself. This all adds up to what I find baffling.

“You say that you are not a racist, but it needs great sophistication to understand how fascism and racism are ultimately different. This distinction will be lost on the people of the North East where the British National Party is finding fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of its pernicious and poisonous doctrine. I believe that unless you clearly renounce fascism in all its manifestations, you will be associated with these toxic far-right tendencies we have seen too much of in this region.”

Lazio’s football club historian Alfonso Dessi said of Di Canio: “He was a true fascist. He declared himself a fascist and never denied his ideas but this matter had no impact on the football institutions. He had a huge impact on the so-called hooligans because of his political ideals but not on the media.”

Di Canio, meanwhile, has insisted he will be involved in transfers this summer, despite having been given the title head coach.

“In the future, when we are talking about signing footballers and for the system I am going to use, then obviously I will ask for the players I want to have,” he said.

Di Canio statement in full...

“I have clearly stated that I do not wish to speak about matters other than football, however, I have been deeply hurt by the attacks on the football club.

“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 feel that I should not have to continually justify myself to people who do not understand this, however I will say one thing only - I am not the man that some people like to portray.

“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.

“I am a football man and this and my family are my focus.  Now I will speak only of football.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
tech
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
Extras
indybest
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor