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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Nelson Mandela group reaffirms links with Sunderland

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.

– spokesman, Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

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".

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