Sunderland boss Di Canio attempts to ignore questions over fascism

The first press conference of new Sunderland Head Coach Paolo Di Canio saw repeated questions regarding the Italian’s alleged fascist political stance, the Daily Telegraph has reported, with Di Canio, who replaced Martin O’Neill at the Black Cats last weekend, refusing to speak about the subject.

Di Canio accused the journalists who repeatedly broached the subject of “offending my family” and threatened to walk out on the press conference. Former Labour MP David Miliband, who was the member for the local South Shields constituency, resigned from his post on the Sunderland board after Di Canio’s appointment, while the club has been urged to re-consider the appointment by other local figures.

Paul Watson, the leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is an unprecedented situation. We have just given a significant grant to the Wear anti-fascist league, which puts into context where the city council stands. The people of the city would expect us to take a moral stance on this.

The Durham Miners’ Association has written to the club to ask for the return of the Wearmouth Miners’ Banner, which hangs permanently inside the Stadium of Light, and the stadium itself is built on the site of an old colliery, a North Sea coal mine.

Di Canio said: “I don’t understand what the problems are. I am a manager, a normal man, a family man. I will work so hard and dedicate completely at the end for this cause. I will work 24 hours a day; you can’t do any more than this.

The former Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham forward added that he felt sorry for Milliband, since he had resigned from the club at the time they were approaching their greatest success.

Di Canio has also begun assembling his backroom team, appointing Fabrizio Piccareta, Domenico Doardo, Claudio Donatelli and Giulio Viscardi to various roles at the club.

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