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Di Canio apologises for 'opinion expressed years ago'

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.

– Paolo Di Canio statement

Watch: Paolo Di Canio's first interview as Sunderland head coach

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Anti-fascism campaigners slam Di Canio appointment

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.

– Weyman Bennett, Unite Against Fascism

Fans cautiously welcome Paolo Di Canio appointment

Some Sunderland fans have said they support Paolo Di Canio's appointment, but cautioned that he must keep his political views to himself.

A Sunderland fan
A Sunderland fan Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/Press Association Images

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."

Read: Miliband quits Sunderland after Di Canio appointment

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Paolo Di Canio appointed Sunderland head coach

Paolo Di Canio has been appointed Sunderland head coach. Credit: PA Wire

Paolo Di Canio has been appointed Sunderland head coach on a two-and-a-half-year deal, the club have announced.

Read: Sunderland axe Martin O'Neill

David Miliband has resigned from his role as vice-chairman and non-executive director of Sunderland due to new manager Di Canio's "past political statements", the former MP said.

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