July 28, 2014 1:17 pm

FIFA asks Italian FA to investigate alleged racist remarks

In this picture taken Friday, July 25, 2014, Carlo Tavecchio attends a National Amateur League meeting in Rome. FIFA has asked the Italian football federation to open an investigation into alleged racist comments made by FIGC presidential candidate Carlo Tavecchio.

AP Photo/Daniele Leone, LaPresse

ZURICH, Switzerland – FIFA asked the Italian football federation on Monday to open an investigation into alleged racist comments by Carlo Tavecchio, a leading candidate for the presidency of the national body.

Tavecchio said he still has support for his candidacy, despite what he called his “improper words,” and will remain in the race.

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“Media reports concerning alleged racist comments by one of the presidential candidates for the Italian FA have alerted FIFA’s Task Force against racism and discrimination and its chairman Jeffrey Webb,” world football’s governing body said in a statement. “As such, FIFA has written a letter to the Italian FA asking it to take the appropriate steps to investigate and decide on this matter and report to FIFA.

“In the letter, FIFA reminded the Italian FA that the fight against racism is a top priority for FIFA.”

Tavecchio, who is president of the amateur leagues in Italy, sparked outrage on Friday when he discussed the presence of foreign players in Italy.

Using a hypothetical name, he said, “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.”

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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