Timeline: How the Paolo Di Canio fascism saga has blown up on Wearside

New Sunderland manager has been a controversial appointment

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The Independent Football

Saturday evening:

Martin O'Neill sacked

Sunderland sack Martin O'Neill hours after a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, which left the struggling club one point and two places above the relegation zone.

Sunday evening:

Di Canio appointed manager The Italian is appointed as O'Neill's successor on a two-and-a-half-year deal, despite having no top-flight managerial experience.

Sunday evening:

David Miliband resigns

The former Foreign Secretary and Labour MP resigns from his role as vice-chairman at the club, citing "the new manager's past political statements".

Monday morning:

Demands for political clarification

Piara Powar, director of Football Against Racism in Europe, urges Di Canio to clarify his political beliefs, warning his appointment is "worrying" for the game.

Monday afternoon:

Di Canio fights back

The Italian claims that "talk about racism... is stupid and ridiculous", and that the original "fascist" quote was taken out of context.

Tuesday morning:

Di Canio unveiled

The new manager is presented to the media at the club's training ground, but refuses to answer questions about his political beliefs.

Tuesday afternoon:

Mandela Foundation support The Nelson Mandela Foundation confirms its link-up with the club is secure, while equality group Kick It Out calls for Di Canio's commitment to anti-discrimination policies.

Yesterday morning:

Sadgrove letter

Michael Sadgrove, the Dean of Durham, writes in an open letter that he finds the Italian's stated beliefs "deeply troubling".

Yesterday afternoon:

Di Canio issues statement

The 44-year-old declares "I am not political, I do not affiliate myself to any organisation... and I do not support the ideology of fascism."