Tavecchio has been elected as new President of FIGC (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio), the Italian FA. Tavecchio beat Demetrio Albertini in the race to succeed Giancarlo Abete, who resigned in June after the Italy national team slumped out of the Fifa World Cup at the group stage.
Tavecchio collected 63.6 per cent of the votes in the third round of the ballot, with 274 delegates present.
Problem is, Tavecchio was the subject of allegations of racism during his election campaign after he discussed the presence of foreign players in Italy by saying: “In England they select players based on professionalism, whereas we say that ‘Opti Poba’ is here, he was eating bananas before and now he’s starting for Lazio and that’s OK.”
Football is gangrened with racism, homophobia and generally speaking, discrimination. Many people fight racism at regional, national level with their (often small) ways and means. A lot of men and women work hard to raise awareness for racial and gender equality in sports, educate young players.
Tavecchio’s election as head of the Italian FA is a slap in the face to all these people who spend their time and energy to eradicate racism from football.
A leader is meant to show the way, the “light”, set an example. Tavecchio, as leader of the Italian FA is far from having any of these qualities.
What message italian kids should take from this election? That it’s okay to racially abuse African players and call them banana eaters, since the head of the FA did say so?
Serie A is too often marred with racist allegations and players racially abused or thrown bananas at. Not sure Tavecchio’s comments or understanding of racial equality is a step forward.