Di Canio: I don't support fascism

After three days of intense public pressure, the new Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio has insisted: "I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism." He had refused to say if he was a fascist during a news conference yesterday.

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Profile: Paolo Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio started his career at his local Italian club Lazio in 1985, but did not play for the first team until 1988.

After spells at Juventus, Napoli and AC Milan, he moved to the UK in 1996 to play for Celtic where he scored a total of 15 times in 37 matches.

West Ham United's Paolo Di Canio Credit: Phil Walter/EMPICS Sport

In a deal worth £4.5 million, Di Canio began a tempestuous period at Sheffield Wednesday later the same year.

He received an 11-match ban for pushing a referee to the ground during a game against Arsenal, and was repeatedly fined by his club for failing to show up.

Paolo Di Canio Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

In 1999, he transferred to West Ham and was promptly charged with misconduct by the FA after appearing to make an insulting gesture during a game with Aston Villa.

Di Canio said in a 2005 interview with Italian news agency ANSA: "I am a fascist, not a racist."

He retired as a player in 2008 and went on to manage Swindon, quitting in February citing issues with the club's hierarchy.

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