Paolo Di Canio dodges political questions on first day at Sunderland

Paolo Di Canio refuses to answer questions about whether he holds fascist beliefs in his first news conference as Sunderland boss

paolo di canio
Paolo Di Canio was confirmed as Martin O'Neill's successor Photo: Back Page Images

paolo di canio

Paolo Di Canio refused to answer questions about whether he holds fascist beliefs in his first news conference as Sunderland boss.

The Italian’s appointment as Martin O’Neill’s successor has been surrounded by controversy after the resignation of the club’s vice-chairman David Miliband because of Di Canio’s apparent political leanings.

“I don’t have to answer any more this question,” said Di Canio. “There was a very good statement from the club, with very, very clear words that came out from me.

“I don’t want to talk any more about politics for one reason because I’m not in the House of Parliament, I’m not a political person, I will talk about only football.

“My life speaks for me so there is no need to speak any more about this situation because it is ridiculous and pathetic.”

Di Canio takes over at the Stadium of Light with the Black Cats in 16th place in the Premier League table and just one point above the relegation zone with seven games left to play.

But the 44-year-old declared that he would “bet everything” on him keeping Sunderland in the English top flight this season.

“When I got the call from [Sunderland chairman] Ellis Short, I felt fire in my belly,” Di Canio said. “I would have swam to Sunderland to take the job.

“With my energy I’m sure we can get something from the next seven games. I hope my ways will give the team more confidence on the pitch.

“The press like to call me the mad Italian, but I would confidently bet everything I have on Sunderland remaining in the top flight.”

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