Di Canio: I don't support fascism

After three days of intense public pressure, the new Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio has insisted: "I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism." He had refused to say if he was a fascist during a news conference yesterday.

Latest ITV News reports

Paolo Di Canio: As a person you don't change

Paolo Di Canio again refused to publicly explain his political views after suffering defeat on his debut as Sunderland manager, but insisted "as a person you don't change".

He could not prevent Sunderland's winless run extending to nine games as Chelsea won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge and declined to comment directly on his views in the post-match media conference.

As a person you don't change, but you become an adult, you become a manager. You can also handle your nature because you know now you're not a footballer, now you have responsibility for many others.

Obviously your nature never changes, but you can lead, you can guide because you know that you have to be careful sometimes when you do something. I don't think you are the same person than 20 years ago, 10 years ago.

We all change. We maintain the principles of when we were growing up, but we change a bit as a man, now as a manager.

– Paolo Di Canio

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Durham Miners glad Sunderland 'stopped dithering'

by Natalie Pirks - ITV News Sports Correspondent

Durham Miners tell me they are a "lot happier now the club have stopped dithering" over the Paolo Di Canio fascism issue and said someone from Sunderland will visit them tomorrow.

New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio poses for photographers. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

They said their banner, which they had demanded to be removed from the Stadium of Light, can stay put.

The club's links to the coal pits goes back to 1936 when the local miners' association sent men to fight against fascists in the Spanish civil war.

Read: Paolo Di Canio - when sport and politics collide.

Read: Paolo Di Canio says he does 'not support the ideology of fascism'.

Di Canio 'pictured' at Italian fascist's funeral in Rome

Sunderland's new manager Paolo Di Canio is believed to have attended the funeral of an Italian fascist linked to a terrorist bombing that killed 85 people.

Pictures appear to show the Italian paying his respects three years ago to Paolo Signorelli, who was jailed for eight years after the Bologna train station attack in 1980.

Signorelli was later acquitted on appeal due to insufficient evidence but was found guilty of being part of an "armed band" and a "subversion against democracy", The Sun reports.

He had been a member of the Italian Socialist Movement which emerged after the collapse of Benito Mussolini's Fascist party.

Di Canio released a statement today saying he is "not a racist" and does "not support the fascist ideology."

Read: Paolo Di Canio - when sport and politics collide

Watch: Di Canio dodges ITV News' question on fascist beliefs

Sunderland boss Di Canio takes first training session

Sunderland's new manager Paolo Di Canio has taken his first training session at the club since his appointment on Wednesday.

Paolo Di Canio's appointment at Sunderland has caused a media storm. Credit: ITV News

The session happened before the Italian released a statement saying he was "not a racist" and did "not support the ideology of fascism."

Sunderland vice chairman David Miliband resigned because of the Italian's appointment. Credit: ITV News

Read: Paolo Di Canio - when sport and politics collide.

Watch: Di Canio dodges ITV News' question on fascist beliefs.

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

Sunderland's new manager Paolo Di Canio has released a statement on the club's official website where he says "I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of 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.

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.

– Paolo Di Canio statement

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Lazio historian claims Di Canio is a 'true fascist'

Lazio Football Club historian Alfonso Dessi has described Paolo Di Canio as a "true fascist" who had a "huge impact" on hooligan supporters because of his political ideas.

Dessi told ITV News that Di Canio's political views do not affect his football, but revealed his "bad temper" often got him into confrontation with Lazio's board.

Di Canio was confirmed as Sunderland manager yesterday amid a row over his political beliefs.

As a player, he had two spells with Lazio and is widely revered as a hero for the Rome-based team.

Read: New photo alleges Di Canio attended fascist's funeral

Read: Di Canio's appointment raises 'very difficult questions'

Read: Paolo Di Canio refuses to answer questions on fascism

Di Canio's appointment raises 'very difficult questions'

Paolo Di Canio's appointment at Sunderland has caused a storm over his political beliefs.
Paolo Di Canio's appointment at Sunderland has caused a storm over his political beliefs. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Dean of Durham has said Paolo Di Canio's appointment as Sunderland manager "raises very difficult questions" because of the Italian's alleged links with fascism.

Reverend Michael Sadgrove admitted he was left "genuinely perplexed" at the football star's "unambiguous response" to media questioning of his political beliefs at his unveiling at the North East club yesterday.

In an open letter, posted on his personal blog, Rev Sadgrove said: "You say that you are not a racist, but it needs great sophistication to understand how fascism and racism are ultimately different.

"I can promise you that 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.

"You did not necessarily know this before you came. But 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."

Read: New photo alleges Di Canio attended fascist's funeral

New photo alleges Di Canio attended fascist's funeral

The Sun has published a photo of new Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio allegedly at the funeral of an Italian fascist.

The Italian football star reportedly attended the service for extremest Paolo Signorelli in Rome three years ago.

Signorelli had spent eight years in prison after being linked to a terrorist bomb attack which killed 85 people in 1980.

Yesterday, Di Canio refused to answer ITV News' question on whether he is a fascist and blasted the controversy surrounding his appointment as "ridiculous and pathetic".

Read: Paolo Di Canio refuses to discuss his political views after being named Sunderland boss.

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