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The organisation representing third division clubs has insisted that the vice-president’s controversial comments about foreign players will not affect their support

Carlo Tavecchio remains the Lega Pro’s preferred candidate for the FIGC presidency despite his recent comments which referred to foreign players as “banana eaters”.

The Lega Pro holds one-sixth of the voting power in next month’s election for the new president of the Italian governing body.

And although Tavecchio caused outrage among some sections of the national game for his outspoken comments, he has been told he will continue to receive the backing of the 60 third-tier clubs which make up the Lega Pro.

“The position of all the presidents regarding the candidature for the presidency of the FIGC has not changed and we foresee the backing of Carlo Tavecchio,” said Lega Pro president Mario Macalli at the authority’s general assembly in Florence.

“There was nothing that could make our clubs change their support. Maybe a few clubs think differently, I can’t rule that out. But during the assembly, none came forward to say they think differently.”

The uproar surrounding Tavecchio followed comments made in regard to work permit laws in world football. The current FIGC vice-president and Lega Nazionale Dilettanti (LND) boss told reporters: “In England, they identify the players coming in and, if they are professional, they are allowed to play.

“Here instead we get some Opti Poba, who previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first-team player with Lazio.”

Although he later apologised for his comments, Tavecchio has seen his popularity among Serie A clubs fall, with many now supporting Demetrio Albertini in the August 11 poll.

However, Tavecchio’s LND holds 34 per cent of the voting rights meaning he remains in a strong position to win the election, especially with the continued backing of the Lega Pro clubs.

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