FIFA extends Italian FA president’s racism ban worldwide

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Italian FA president Carlo Tavecchio has seen his six-month ban for racist comments extended worldwide by FIFA, yet another embarrassment for the organization.

After having cleared the 71-year-old of any wrongdoing following racist comments regarding the influx of African players into Serie A, Tavecchio was banned by UEFA for holding office for six months. FIFA has extended that ban to a worldwide status, barring him from holding any FIFA office for the next six months.

“FIFA’s stance against any form of discrimination is unequivocal,” FIFA said in a statement. “Article three of the FIFA statutes expressly prohibits discrimination of any kind against persons on account of their race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion, wealth, birth or sexual orientation.”

Tavecchio, speaking on the inability to produce consistent Italian youth talent within its own league, made up a hypothetical African name before referring to them in a racist way by saying, “In England, they identify the players coming in and, if they are professional, they are allowed to play. Here instead we get ‘Opti Poba’, who previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first-team player with Lazio.”

The comments were made at an assembly of youth leagues, for which he was president of at the time and nearing completion of his successful campaign to take charge of the FA.

Tavecchio was just recently elected as FA president, and has since apologized for the comments. The internal investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing after he publicly apologized.