Tuesday October 7th, 2014

UEFA has suspended Italian Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio six months for making a racist statement, the organization announced Tuesday.

Tavecchio was quoted as making an inflammatory remark about African players after the World Cup during his election campaign for the Italian FA presidency this summer.

From The Guardian

Quoted by the newspaper La Repubblica, Tavecchio said: “England identifies the players coming in and, if they are professional, they are allowed to play.

“Here, on the other hand, let’s say there’s [fictional player] Opti Poba, who has come here, who previously was eating bananas and now is a first-team player for Lazio. In England he has to demonstrate his CV and his pedigree.”

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UEFA released the following statement:

"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. Mr. Tavecchio will organize a special event in Italy aimed at increasing awareness and compliance with the principles of UEFA's Resolution entitled European Football united against racism."

Tavecchio was elected Italy's FA president in August, garnering 63.63 percent of the third-round vote to defeat Demetrio Albertin. UEFA announced its investigation into his alleged racism shortly thereafter.

Racism has been a pervasive problem in soccer, especially in Europe. UEFA has punished multiple clubs in recent weeks due to fans' racist behaviors.

There's also been a growing push for English soccer to institute a "Rooney Rule" to encourage the hiring of more black and other minority coaches, though Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said last week that "there's no racism in soccer" in reference to the proposal.

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Tavecchio, who had been the favorite to be elected the Italian FA president, succeeded Giancarlo Abete in the position.

Ben Estes

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