Carlo Tavecchio was elected president of the Italian football federation (FIGC) less than a month after he caused an outcry by referring to African players as "banana eaters".

The head of the Italian Amateur Leagues' Association (LDN) overcame his opponent, former Italy and AC Milan midfielder Demetrio Albertini, by winning 63.3% of the 278 votes.

I ask everyone to forget their differences and get to work

Carlo Tavecchio, President Italian football federation

The 71-year-old's election will be hugely uncomfortable for FIFA and UEFA who have both made the fight against racism a priority and sanction teams whose fans are found guilty of racist abuse.

Tavecchio, who later apologised for his remark on African players, also faces a host of other problems including Serie A decline, falling attendances, match-fixing and a failure to find new talent.

"I will be everyone's president," he told the FIGC assembly in a Rome hotel after being elected. "I ask everyone to forget their differences and get to work."

Tavecchio sparked a race row during a speech to the LDN as he talked about a lack of opportunities for Italian players at professional clubs.

He referred to a fictitious player he named Opti Poba who, he said, "previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first team player with Lazio".

Jeffrey Webb, head of FIFA's racism task force, said "the football community is appalled by the recent racist comments made by CarloTavecchio".

Source: Reuters