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How can Italian FA president continue after racial slur?

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The president of the Italian Football Federation, Carlo Tavecchio, has been banned for six months by UEFA for racist comments but looks set to keep his job.

If ever proof was needed that Italian football is losing its battle against racism it was provided by Carlo Tavecchio's appointment as Italian Football Federation president.

The 71-year-old managed to get elected despite making a clear racial slur during his election campaign and he has now received a six-month ban from UEFA, but he remains in his position.

In reference to foreign players entering the Italian league, Tavecchio was quoted by La Repibblica as saying: 

"Here, let's say there's Opti Poba [a fictional player], 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."

Nonetheless, Tavecchio still managed to beat former AC Milan player Demetrio Albertini to election in August - a decision that was lamented by the wider Italian football community.

Almost as worrying as Tavecchio's remarks was the fact that AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani was willing to write it off as 'a little joke' before stressing Tavecchio 'wasn't a racist'. Many of the people in power in Italian football were obviously happy to support a man who could make such a comment.

Tavecchio will now not be allowed to hold any UEFA position and will be banned from the next Congress in March 2015, leaving Italian football in a humiliating and ludicrous position.

Incredibly, Tavecchio looks likely to keep his position as president and will therefore be in charge of spearheading Italian football's fight against racism. He has even stated that the ruling 'doesn't change my position' - a claim that is patently untrue.

There are repeated signals that Italian football's racism problem isn't getting any better. Mario Balotelli was regularly subjected to racist abuse, even while in a national team training camp before the World Cup, and his brother Enoch, who is a lower league player recently suffered the same fate. Last season bananas were thrown at AC Milan's Kevin Prince Boateng and Nigel de Jong by Atalanta fans.

Yesterday at a youth game between the two Milan sides, a 16-year-old AC Milan player, Cosimo La Ferrara, subjected an opponent, Justice Opoku, to racist abuse. Milan boss Christian Brocchi immediately substituted La Ferrara, who faces a five-game ban.

How could Tavecchio be taken even remotely seriously if he wanted to discuss such disgraceful episodes? The answer is that he couldn't be. If Italian football is to stand any chance of progressing it is people like Tavecchio who must be removed from positions of power. 

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