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SBD Global/April 3, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship
Sunderland's Paolo Di Canio Appointment Causes Sponsors To Review Deals With Club
Published April 3, 2013
A NEW PARTNERSHIP: In London, Sam Munnery wrote Di Canio met Monday with an exec from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, "with which Sunderland has struck a new partnership that sits well alongside its relationship with Invest in Africa." The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory CEO Sello Hatang said that the partnership with the club is a commitment to "human rights and anti-racism" before adding, "Sunderland reaffirmed its commitment to these values" (LONDON TIMES, 4/2). REUTERS' Toby Davis wrote Di Canio described the controversy over his appointment as "ridiculous and pathetic" and refused to answer questions about whether he held fascist beliefs in his first news conference on Tuesday. Di Canio: "I don't have to answer any more this question, there was a very good statement from the club, (with) very, very clear words that came out from me" (REUTERS, 4/2).
CONTROVERSIAL PAST: The BBC reported Di Canio "has talked in the past of his fascist views." He is reported to have said in an interview with Italian news agency Ansa in '05 that his straight arm salute when playing for Lazio was aimed at "my people," who he defines as members of Benito Mussolini's fascist movement and "was not intended to incite racial hatred." Sunderland insist claims Di Canio has racist or fascist sympathies are insulting to both the "integrity of the club" and its new manager (BBC, 4/2). In London Mark Ogden reported a Facebook site has been set up with the title “Sunderland Against Fascist Di Canio,” and "a petition calling for the manager’s removal has been started by supporters." However, a poll on a fans’ website, which generated more than 650 responses, shows "approximately 60 per cent in support of Di Canio" (TELEGRAPH, 4/2).