The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, which has a partnership with Sunderland AFC, has released a statement reaffirming its relationship with the club in light of Paolo Di Canio's appointment. The statement reads:
The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and the management of Sunderland Football Club met in England on Monday to discuss the public debates around Sunderland’s new coach. Mr Di Canio participated in the meeting ...
At the heart of the partnership is a commitment to our Founder’s values with a special focus on human rights and anti racism.
At the meeting on Monday Sunderland reaffirmed its commitment to these values and the ethos of the partnership.
It must be stressed that the Centre’s relationship is with the club, not with any individual in the club.
The organisation, which promotes the legacy of Nelson Mandela, formed a partnership with Sunderland last month.
The club has organised several fundraising events for its benefit, and plans to "utilise" its knowledge to "support football’s quest to eradicate racism".
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.
Paolo Di Canio is telling reporters: "With my energy I am sure we can get something from the next seven games.
"I hope my ways give the team more confidence on the pitch."
I expressed an opinion in an interview many years ago. Some pieces were taken for media convenience. They took my expression in a very, very negative way - but it was a long conversation and a long interview.
It was not fair. I know it is a part of my job to do interviews because I am well-known, but sometimes it suits their purpose to put big headlines and a big story.
What I can say is that if someone is hurt, I am sorry. But this didn't come from me, it came from a big story that people put out in a different way to what it was.
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:
If he wants to be a manager and wants to be a public figure, he needs to make it clear he accepts these views are completely inappropriate.
Football has made great strides in opposing fascism. It's simply not true that you can say you agree with fascism and that's okay. It's something that isn't acceptable.
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."
Di Canio has admitted to having fascist leanings, telling Italian news agency ANSA in 2005: "I am a fascist, not a racist."
I wish Sunderland AFC all success in the future. It is a great institution that does a huge amount for the North East and I wish the team very well over the next vital seven games.
However, in the light of the new manager’s past political statements, I think it right to step down.