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Despite calling African players “banana eaters”, Tavecchio still set to lead Italian FA

Jul 29, 2014, 12:11 PM EST

Italy Federation Racism AP

Despite racist remarks over the weekend, Carlo Tavecchio is still on track to become the next president of the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC).

What is going on?

Well, let’ start with the facts. Currently Tavecchio, 71, is a vice-president of the FIGC and he’s in charge of the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti (National Amateur League), which controls all amateur soccer in Italy.

His racist remarks came over the weekend when Tavecchio suggested that Italy should follow England’s strict requirements for non-EU players playing soccer in their country.

Below is what he actually said regarding the situation about signing non-EU players in Italy.

“Here, on the other hand, let’s say there’s [fictional player] Opti Poba, who has come here, who previously was eating bananas and now is a first-team player for Lazio … In England he has to demonstrate his CV and his pedigree.”

Since he made those deplorable comments Tavecchio said the following, which was hardly a huge backtrack on his part.

“I made an unfortunate remark; I was wrong. I am sorry and I have apologized,” Tavecchio said. “But I can say, with arrogance, that few have done what I have done for the Third World.”

As of last week Tavecchio had the support of 18 of 20 Serie A clubs to lead the Italian FA. Since his remarks Fiorentina have declined to support him, plus Sampdoria and Cesena have shown concern over the situation. However some of the biggest clubs in Italy are still rallying around Tavecchio as AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani had the following to say.

“What Tavecchio said was an unfortunate joke, but now he’s being portrayed as a racist. But it stops there. Milan’s position is not changing.”

Will Tavecchio really be elected as the President of the Italian Soccer Federation after these remarks? Surely not.

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