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In a statement released by Sunderland on behalf of Paolo Di Canio the new manager calls talk of racism 'stupid and ridiculous.'
New manager Paolo Di Canio has arrived at the Academy of Light training ground for his first day as manager of Sunderland.
Anti-fascism campaigners have called for Paolo Di Canio to publicly retract comments about his political views.
Unite Against Fascism's joint national secretary, Weyman Bennett, said his appointment was "an insult" to the people of Sunderland:
Some Sunderland fans have said they support Paolo Di Canio's appointment, but cautioned that he must keep his political views to himself.
One season ticket holder, Stan Simpson, said some fans would be "wary" about the Italian's appointment but that he respected David Miliband for sticking to his principles.
"I understand Mr Miliband's decision but there is no way we, as fans, would entertain any fascism in our club. As long as he doesn't express any political opinions I can cope with it."
Janet Rowan, another fan, said she thought Di Canio was "very passionate" about the game but said extremist politics "isn't something we want in football".
She added: "I respect David Miliband's views but as fans we have got to support Di Canio."
The man who appointed Paolo Di Canio to manage Swindon has described David Miliband's decision to quit his post at Sunderland as a "sad, knee-jerk response".
Former Swindon chairman Jeremy Wray told BBC Radio Five that Di Paolo was an "astute choice" and that his political views should not be relevant.
"Paolo will have many strong views," he conceded. "He probably has a strong view on whether Italy should be in the Euro, gay marriage or the endangered Siberian tiger, but I doubt if it's really relevant to keeping Sunderland in the Premiership.
"He will galvanise the team ... He is full-on 24 hours a day and will be focused on the last seven games of the season."
Paolo Di Canio started his career at his local Italian club Lazio in 1985, but did not play for the first team until 1988.
After spells at Juventus, Napoli and AC Milan, he moved to the UK in 1996 to play for Celtic where he scored a total of 15 times in 37 matches.
In a deal worth £4.5 million, Di Canio began a tempestuous period at Sheffield Wednesday later the same year.
He received an 11-match ban for pushing a referee to the ground during a game against Arsenal, and was repeatedly fined by his club for failing to show up.
In 1999, he transferred to West Ham and was promptly charged with misconduct by the FA after appearing to make an insulting gesture during a game with Aston Villa.
Di Canio said in a 2005 interview with Italian news agency ANSA: "I am a fascist, not a racist."
He retired as a player in 2008 and went on to manage Swindon, quitting in February citing issues with the club's hierarchy.
Di Canio has admitted to having fascist leanings, telling Italian news agency ANSA in 2005: "I am a fascist, not a racist."
Latest ITV News reports
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio denied he was a racist or fascist after his controversial appointment received fresh criticism.
Yesterday's press conference at Sunderland's Academy of Light training base was illuminating in every way but one.