Italian Football Federation President Carlo Tavecchio Faces Racism Investigation
UEFA said that it is "investigating alleged racist comments made by Carlo Tavecchio during his successful campaign" to become the head of Italian football, according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. The speech in July drew criticism after Tavecchio, who was the amateur league president, "referred to a fictional player eating bananas." UEFA said in a statement that Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President Tavecchio has been informed of the decision "to open a disciplinary investigation on alleged racist comments made by him during his FIGC presidential election campaign." Tavecchio said that Italian clubs at times fail to select "players based on professionalism" as is the case in other countries. Using a fictional player’s name and one of the Rome-based football teams as a hypothetical example, Tavecchio added, "Opti Poba is here, he was eating bananas before and now he will play a starter for Lazio and that’s all right." Tavecchio apologized after being confronted about his language, saying that "he did not mean to be offensive" (BLOOMBERG, 8/20). REUTERS' Brian Homewood wrote UEFA said a report would be handed to its ethics and disciplinary panel "to render a decision about this matter." UEFA said, "Further details concerning these proceedings will be announced in due course." Coincidentally, Rome "will host an anti-discrimination conference organised by UEFA and the FARE group in September." The World Players' Union FIFPro "has already questioned Tavecchio's suitability to lead Italian football and called on him to attend the conference and issue an unreserved apology" (REUTERS, 8/20).