President of Italian FA handed six-month ban by UEFA for racism

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Following a UEFA investigation into comments he made over the summer, the President of the Italian Football Federation has been banned for six months by European soccer’s governing body.

Carlo Tavecchio, 71, has been a long-term executive in Italian soccer and has a UEFA role as a member of its youth and amateur football committee.

UEFA released the following statement after reaching a verdict on his comment which referenced bananas when talking about foreign players in Italy:

“Mr. Tavecchio will be ineligible for any position as a UEFA official for a period of six months starting from the communication of this decision. Mr. Tavecchio will not participate in the next UEFA Congress scheduled for 24 March 2015.”

In line with his suspension, Tavecchio will also have to organize an event in Italy against racism which aims to raise awareness and be in “compliance with the principles of UEFA’s Resolution entitled European Football united against racism.”

The racist comment in question arrived during Tavecchio’s election campaign and he was still named the new president of Italian football (FIGC) in August despite the following comments when discussing a fictional player he made up to describe the difference between laws in England and Italy regarding non-EU players.

“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.”