Di Canio row continues

The row over Paolo Di Canio being appointed as the new Sunderland manager continued today because of his links with the Italian Fascist movement.

Latest ITV News reports

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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'

National

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.

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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
National

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

National

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
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