Vieira criticises Tavecchio election as UISP pledge to fight on against racism12 August 2014

FollowingtheelectionofCarloTavecchioasthenewpresidentoftheItalianFootballFederation,formerFrancecaptainandJuventusmidfielderPatrickVieirahascommentedontheoutcome.

Vieira, who currently manages Manchester City under 21 team, and has recently walked his players off the pitch in a pre-season game in Croatia after racial abuse.

On the election Vieira said: “I’m finding it really hard to believe that Carlo Tavecchio has been elected as president of the Italian FA after the comments that he made.

‘I can’t believe he will represent Italian football’
“For me, that shows how far away the Italian football authorities are from dealing with discrimination.

“This decision was made in football, but I think it is bigger than football. It should make the whole country of Italy look at the message they want to send about what they think about racism. I can’t believe he will represent the Italian football authorities. What a shame.”

The former head of Lega Nazionale Dilettanti (LND), Tavecchio was at the centre of controversy after referring to African players in Italy as “banana eaters”, beat ex-AC Milan player Demetrio Albertini after three rounds of voting in Rome, last evening (11 August), polling 63% of the votes.

‘Stronger effort needed on social inclusion’
Italian Fare founder members Unione Italiana Sport Per tutti (UISP) have expressed their dismay at the outcome and pledged to respond by continuing their anti-racism work and to lobby for social inclusion activities in football.

Carlo Balestri, the Head of UISP International Policy said, “We are not surprised at the election of Mr Tavecchio, it captures the picture of the actual “football system” in Italy, which places greater importance on economic interests than social values.

“The promotion of Tavecchio arises from some sectors where TV rights are the most important issue, more so than a real push to change the system.

“We will continue to push for a real and strong effort regarding the issue of anti- racism and social inclusion, an engagement that seems to be marginal in the Federation and in the League.

“We will start from a first step, an agreement we recently signed with the Lega Calcio, for promoting anti-racism in schools in 15 towns in Italy, involving all the clubs of Serie A.”

UISP organises the Mondiali AntiRazzisti tournament, the biggest manifestation against discrimination in football, in Northern Italy every July. The have worked closely with Cecile Kyenge, the Congolese-born MEP and former Minister of Integration in Italy who was herself racially abused in parliament.

Patrick Vieira