Saying NO to fascism in football

New Sunderland manager Paulo Di Canio: “I am a fascist, not a racist.”

In 2005 he told the Italian news agency Ansa: “I am a fascist, not a racist.” He has been pictured giving a straight-arm salute in front of fans of the Rome club Lazio, which has a strong following among the far right. Many are outraged at this signing and think it is a worrying situation which futher ligitimizes the creep of fascist thinking into everyday life.

Di Canio: Fascist is as fascist does
Di Canio: Fascist is as fascist does

Groups: Hope Not Hate: Di Canio | Sunderland Against Fascist Di Canio | No fascists at RFC – No to Di Canio | Football Fans United Against The Fascist Di Canio Articles: David Miliband quits Sunderland FC in Di Canio protest | Poll: Should Sunderland fans care about Di Canio’s views? | THE SUN: Why war veterans boycot Di Canio? | A statement concerning the appointment of Paolo Di Canio | Di Canio: a new study complete with fascist dictator Mussolini

Di Canio with idol, Mussolini

Di Canio among friends
Di Canio among friends (c/o AFA Ireland Facebook page)

Saluting his friends

Former foreign secretary resigns as vice-chairman of club ‘in light of new manager’s past political statements’

In a statement posted on his website Miliband said:

“I wish Sunderland AFC all success in the future. It is a great institution that does a huge amount for the north-east, and I wish the team very well over the next vital seven games. However, in the light of the new manager’s past political statements, I think it right to step down.”

The GMB trade union also cited his political views when it withdrew its sponsorship of Swindon Town after he was appointed its manager in 2011. The former Italian international, whose club career has included stints at Juventus, Napoli, AC Milan, Lazio, Glasgow Celtic, Charlton Athletic, West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday, has spoken openly in the past about his far-right leanings.

In 2005 he told the Italian news agency Ansa: “I am a fascist, not a racist.” He has been pictured giving a straight-arm salute in front of fans of the Rome club Lazio, which has a strong following among the far right.

In his autobiography, he wrote of the Italian dictator Mussolini: “His actions were often vile. But all this was motivated by a higher purpose. He was basically a very principled individual.”

DiCanio goes from major storm to Miners’ outrage

…But the controversy surrounding his appointment to the North East club has continued to grow with the Durham Miners’ Association demanding the club returns the Wearmouth Miners’ Banner.

The banner is on permanent display at the Stadium of Light and the General Secretary of the association, Dave Hopper, has written to the club expressing his outrage.

“I like many thousands of miners have supported Sunderland from infancy and are passionate about football. But, there are principles which are much more important,” he said.

“Our banner represents the Durham miners’ long struggle for the rights of the working class, rights which were annihilated by fascism in Germany, Italy, Spain and Chile.

“We have a sacred obligation to the millions who were wiped out by Hitler, Mussolini and Franco to oppose fascism wherever and in whatever context this evil creed raises its head particularly at a time when working people are again being forced to pay for capitalism’s crisis as they were in Europe in the 1920s and 30s.

“The appointment of Di Canio is a disgrace and a betrayal of all who fought and died in the fight against fascism.

“Everyone must speak out and oppose this outrage and call on Ellis Short and the Sunderland board to reverse their decision.”

 A closer look at fascism in football…

Foreign fields

The third and final programme in the series Foreign fields examines the growing social impact of hooligan groups in Italy and Argentina – as they become increasingly politicised and organised.

The programme gains unprecedented access to the shadowy and often violent world of the hooligan groups attached to two of the world’s most glamorous clubs – the Irriducibilli of Lazio in Italy

Using extraordinary footage filmed with the hooligans, the police and during riots around the stadiums this season – the film shows the growing influence of these groups on the clubs and the players themselves.

We also talk to players and hooligans in Italy about the growing influence of racist and far-right groups on the terraces that the hooligans control.

The Lazio hooligans: the Irriducibilli – now have their own merchandise, and businesses – organising all the stadium banners and meetings with the players – many of them international stars – and the club.

Racism at Lazio:

Lazio facing stadium ban from Uefa for ‘racist behaviour’ of fans

Lazio get suspended stadium ban for racist chanting in Tottenham game

Racism beyond Lazio:

Two men arrested after attack on Spurs fans in Rome

Tottenham fans attacked by Ultras in Rome ahead of Lazio game



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