Sunderland sponsor silent over Paolo Di Canio appointment

Invest in Africa refuses to be drawn into debate

Tuesday 02 April 2013 12:53

Sunderland shirt sponsor Invest in Africa has distanced itself from being drawn into the debate surrounding the controversial appointment of new manager Paolo Di Canio.

Di Canio today refused to answer questions about whether or not he is a fascist at his first press conference at the club, as scrutiny over his political views continues.

The 44-year-old Italian was asked on several occasions if he was a fascist but did not respond.

Sunderland's pioneering shirt sponsorship with Invest In Africa, a not-for-profit business initiative aiming to promote the continent, was launched last June and sits well alongside the new partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which was celebrated in the build-up to the game against Manchester United on Saturday.

However, the appointment of Di Canio, who has previously said he holds fascist views, looks to be at odds with these two initiatives.

Invest in Africa refused to discuss the effect Di Canio's appointment could have on the sponsorship deal when contacted, but a spokesperson said: "It (Di Canio's position) is a football-related matter and under the remit of the club."

The shirt sponsorship deal is only for a year and runs until the end of the current season, although there is an option to extend it for 2013/14.

It is not known when Invest in Africa will meet to decide whether to renew the sponsorship deal with Sunderland for next year.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation was unavailable to comment on the appointment of Di Canio when contacted by Press Association Sport today.


Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in