Fifa bans Italy chief after racist comment

President of the Italian football federation Carlo Tavecchio won't be able to hold position with Fifa for six months.

    Tavecchio had swept to victory in the federation's elections despite the controversy [AFP]
    Tavecchio had swept to victory in the federation's elections despite the controversy [AFP]

    Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio has been barred from holding any position with world governing body FIFA for six months over an alleged racist comment he made in August.

    European football's governing body UEFA has already imposed a similar sanction on the 71-year-old and the FIFA decision announced on Wednesday was another embarrassment for the FIGC, whose own investigation had cleared Tavecchio of any wrongdoing.

    Tavecchio caused an outcry when he made a comment about a fictitious African player he named Opti Poba "eating bananas" during the campaign for the FIGC presidency.

    He was addressing the vexed subject of the lack of opportunities for young Italian players at professional clubs.

    "In England, they identify the players coming in and, if they are professional, they are allowed to play," the 71-year-old said.

    "Here instead we get 'Opti Poba', who previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first-team player with Lazio."

    FIFA said that Tavecchio would be "ineligible" for any position as a FIFA official for a period of six months starting from October 7, 2014.

    Despite the controversy, he swept to victory in the FICG election against former AC Milan midfielder Demetrio Albertini with the backing of the lower tier clubs and amateur leagues, a result which raised more questions about Italian attitudes to racism in football.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.