Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio was handed a six month ban earlier today for allegedly making racist comments during his meeting with Italy’s amateur leagues in July, according to an announcement by UEFA.
According to reports, Tavecchio’s controversial statements were made when describing the importance of meritocracy in England’s leagues to the Italian amateurs.
“In England, they identify the players coming in and, if they are professional, they are allowed to play” he was reported to say.
“Here instead we get [a player]… who previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first-team player with Lazio. That’s how it is here” he then went on to add.
A formal investigation was launched on August 20 by the FIGC Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body following his comments, lasting for six weeks and concluding only recently by suggesting a ban.
Despite the comments, Tavecchio had successfully won re-election to his FIGC presidency earlier this year.
The 71-year-old Italian had nevertheless issued an immediate apology following the incident in July for the words he had used to make the reference, but had denied that he was in any way racist.
“I accept all the criticism but not the accusations of racism” he stated, speaking to Sky Sport Italia.
“My life testifies that I am not racist, and I am ready to make new anti-discrimination policies.”
Tavecchio has since promised to launch a special initiative that favours integration in Italy once his ban concludes, as a response to the allegations against him.