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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

Di Canio reacts to controversy about his appointment

New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has issued a statement following the controversy surrounding his appointment.

“I don’t have a problem with anyone. I haven’t had a problem in the past and I don’t know why I have to keep repeating my story, to be defending myself on something that doesn’t belong to me every time I change clubs. Talk about racism? That is absolutely stupid, stupid and ridiculous. The people who know me can change that idea quickly. When I was in England my best friends were Trevor Sinclair and Chris Powell, the Charlton manager – they can tell you everything about my character.

“I don’t want to talk about politics because it’s not my area. We are not in the Houses of Parliament, we are in a football club. I want to talk about sport. I want to talk about football, my players, the Board and the fans. My first priority is my family and my daughters, that’s obvious, and secondly to have the responsibility for thousands of people. This is my priority and I want to be focused on this aspect. I don’t want to talk any more about politics – I am not a politics person.”

– Paolo Di Canio, Sunderland Head Coach

Sunderland AFC is a traditional football club, with a rich and proud history. It has a strong ethos and ethics and that has not changed in any shape or form.

Anyone who has met Paolo and spoken with him personally, as we did in depth before making this appointment, will know that he is an honest man, a man of principle and a driven, determined and passionate individual. To accuse him now, of being a racist or having fascist sympathies, is insulting not only to him but to the integrity of this football club.

– Margaret Byrne, Sunderland CEO

Di Canio dons Sunderland scarf

Paolo Di Canio
Paolo Di Canio

Sunderland AFC have released an official photo of their new Head Coach Paolo Di Canio, wearing the red and white club scarf.

Di Canio has signed a two and a half year deal with the Black Cats, following the sacking of their former manager Martin O'Neill.

David Miliband has resigned as Vice-Chairman and non-executive director of the club, citing 'past political statements' by Di Canio.

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