Paolo Di Canio – Are You A Facist?

As the row rumbles on about Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland manager and former Foreign Secretary – David Miliband resigns from the Sunderland board in protest; it is worth asking the question is Paolo Di Canio a fascist? A secondary question that also should be posed, does he know the meaning of equality? I ask because his statement given to the press he is quoted as saying, “I respect everyone.”

From the above it would seem so, but I rather have a hunch he is playing to the gallery in the above picture. This was taken when he was a player with the Italian club, SS Lazio.

Many of us who follow football will be aware of the term “badge-kisser”. For non-football fans this is practice where the player after scoring a goal kisses the badge on the shirt. Quite a peculiar practice I know and not one I would have engaged in with any previous employment. I can just see the howls of derision; if after running a training session on ‘inclusion’ (where I have received particularly favourable feedback) that I run around the room kissing the motif on my shirt. The practice of badge-kissing is indeed a strange phenomenon and I have no idea where it has come from.

Anyway, let me get back to my point and forgive my ramblings. Is the man in the above picture, a fascist and indeed does he understand the meaning of equality?

He gave an interview to an Italian news agency in 2005 where apparently, he described himself at the time as being “a fascist, but not a racist”. I have no idea if there were some translation issues here in what he actually said or indeed if he did say it, is there is any real difference between the two terms?

He has also on occasions apparently stated his admiration for Mussolini. Perhaps he has an appreciation of punctual trains but omits to remember the atrocities that Mussolini colluded in. I am sure that Mussolini did not have an understanding of the meaning of equality.

Di Canio is not new to English football and indeed has been successful at a fairly high level in management. It seems that at the time when he was managing Swindon Town no-one was interested in his politics. Indeed many sports commentators and pundits warmed to his unorthodox management style.
We should believe that it is worth asking him the question. If he is not a fascist then why not come out and say so? This would allow him to put the record straight. Instead his reply is “I don’t have to answer any more this question.”

We have a right Mr Di Canio to have some answers please; and for a club (Sunderland) who were was one of the clubs that helped with the foundation of anti-racist group ‘Give Racism the Red Card’ in the mid-1980s and do know the meaning of equality the question must be answered. The many of their players who have played a prominent role in supporting the campaign and clearly too know the meaning of equality and they deserve to know their manager’s views. Last, but not least their fans too, who have backed the campaign in great numbers also deserve an answer.