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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'.

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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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Paolo Di Canio refuses to say whether he is still a fascist

Asked whether he still considers himself a fascist, Paolo Di Canio says: "I don't have to answer any more this question, there was a very good statement from the club".

"I don't want to talk any more about politics ... I'm not in the House of Parliament," he adds.

A press officer is cutting off any further questions on the subject.

Read: Di Canio calls claims of racism 'stupid and ridiculous'

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