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

Italy Federation Racism

In this picture taken Friday, July 25, 2014, Carlo Tavecchio attends an assembly of the National Amateur League in Rome. FIFA has asked the Italian football federation to open an investigation into alleged racist comments made by FIGC presidential candidate Carlo Tavecchio. “Media reports concerning alleged racist comments by one of the presidential candidates for the Italian FA have alerted FIFA’s Task Force against racism and discrimination and its chairman Jeffrey Webb,” a statement by world football’s governing body said on Monday, July 28, 2014. Amateur leagues president Tavecchio sparked outrage on Friday when he discussed the presence of foreign players in Italy. Using a hypothetical name, he said, “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.” (AP Photo/Daniele Leone, LaPresse)

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.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports