Former Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi says "there are too many black players" on the youth sides of Italian clubs, and that is affecting the country’s “national pride and identity."
Sacchi made his comments Monday at an awards ceremony.
“But looking at the Viareggio tournament I feel like saying that there are too many black players, even in the youth teams,” he said, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Italy has no dignity, no pride. It's not possible that our teams should have 15 foreign players in the squad."
Sacchi then tried to clarify his comments, saying he is "certainly not racist and my past as a coach shows that."
"My history speaks for itself, I've always coached teams with great players from every color and I've brought in a lot, whether to Milan or Madrid," Sacchi said.
“I’ve been misinterpreted, you think I'm really racist? All I said was I saw a game featuring a team who fielded four colored players," he added.
Sacchi coached AC Milan and Atlético Madrid and was also the director of football for Real Madrid. He led Milan to two European Cup titles and helped lead Italy to the 1994 World Cup final, where they lost to Brazil.
- Scooby Axson