Italian amateur side formed after FIGC president’s racist remarks12 March 2015

AmateurfootballersinItalyhavecreatedtheirownfootballteam,hittingbackatcommentsmadebytheformerItalianfootballleaguepresidentCarloTavecchioinJulylastyear.

The 71-year-old stated that black players’ who weren’t professional – hypothetically named ‘Opti Poba’ – were a problem as their only previous profession was ‘eating bananas’.

The remarks, made during Tavecchio’s campaign for presidency and sparked condemnation from Italian politics and football.

Despite calls for him to stand down from his campaign, he was elected as the president.

However, in protest, a group of refugees and asylum seekers came together and formed the Opti Poba team, which has recently joined an amateur championship in southern Italy.

In the team’s mission statement, they say they are formed by people who “are often accepted into the country, but not really welcomed in the true sense of the word”.

A spokesman of ASD Opti Poba said that he hopes they can let the football do the talking, while they act as a permanent reminder of why it is important to continue to fight against racism.

Based in the state of Basilicata, the club’s Facebook page has already attracted thousands of likes, while the foundation of the club has been widely reported within the Italian media.

Tavecchio was banned in November from holding any position with FIFA for six months, due to the comments.

From The Mirror