The new Sunderland manager has previously given the Roman salute to supporters while playing for Lazio and described himself as a "fascist, not a racist" in 2005Football Against Racism in Europe director Piara Powar has expressed alarm at the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as Sunderland manager given that the Italian has previously described himself as a fascist.
After being punished by Italian authorities in 2005 for giving a Roman salute to Lazio fans, Di Canio told Italian news agency ANSA that he was "a fascist, not a racist".
Powar is concerned by the potential influence of the former West Ham striker's political positions as a Premier League manager and has asked Di Canio to clarify his views.
"When there is a rise of intolerance and there is a coach in the Premier League, which is the most watched league globally, who hasn't clarified or wanted to renounce his fascist views during his time in the UK, it is a worrying time," Powar said.
|28/1||Sunderland are 28/1 with BetVictor to beat Chelsea 1-0 next weekend|
"I think from our perspective we would say we are seeing the rise of the far right and the intolerance and hatred that goes with that across Europe. Being a fascist is not a soft political label.
"In many way it's a political label that comes across with all sorts of dangerous ideas and ideals and that is the concern for us.
"There has been a lot gone on in football over issues of race and that gives a different focus to a manager who calls himself a fascist being appointed to a top post.
"I think there is no place in a sport which seeks to draw out positive impact on social relations and community to have someone who says 'I am a fascist'."