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Newly appointed Italian soccer president probed by UEFA amid racism claims

Aug 20, 2014, 9:50 AM EDT

Italy Federation Racism AP

After being elected last week as the new President of the Italian football federation (FIGC), Carlo Tavecchio is already under investigation by UEFA and could face a three month ban.

The 71-year-old previously referenced bananas when talking about overseas players coming to Italy as professionals. That comment caused quite a stir and many were surprised Tavecchio still went on to be elected as the head of Italian soccer.

[RELATED: Tavecchio elected despite racism issues]

FIFA had urged the FIGC to investigate Tavecchio’s comments and now UEFA have stepped in to make sure that happens.

Tavecchio’s alleged racist comment come when he was talking about England’s strict requirements for overseas players, which Italy doesn’t currently have. He used a hypothetical name in the following comment.

“In England they select players based on professionalism, whereas we say that `Opti Poba’ is here, he was eating bananas before and now he’s starting for Lazio and that’s OK.”

If found guilty of racism, the long standing Italian soccer executive would face a minimum one month ban which could be as long as three. UEFA said the following in a statement on their website.

“Following a request of information made by UEFA on 28 July 2014, Mr Carlo Tavecchio, President of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), has today been personally informed by UEFA about the decision of its Chief Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector to open a disciplinary investigation on alleged racist comments made by him during his FIGC presidential election campaign.

Once the report has been completed, the UEFA Chief Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector will submit its conclusions to the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body to render a decision about this matter.

Further details concerning these proceedings will be announced in due course.”

Tavecchio has since issued a statement on the FIGC’s website and has stated he is “calm and respectful of UEFA’s decision,” while also acknowledging that it is “a required procedure, so we already knew it was coming and I am certain that I can explain also in the UEFA headquarters both my mistake and my real intentions.”

We haven’t heard the last of this, as the racism scandal surrounding the leader of Italian soccer rumbles on.

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