Former Nigeria international and a FIFA/UEFA instructor, Sunday Oliseh, has condemned the appointment of Carlo Tavecchio as the President of the Italian Football Federation, saying it represents a “dark day for football”.
Tavecchio caused controversy during his election campaign by making a racist comment about some players being “banana eaters”.
The 71-year-old football administrator, who took 63.63% of the vote in the final round of polling to beat former AC Milan player, Demetrio Albertini, has since apologized for his remark but Oliseh wonders why he should be elected into the position after making such racist comment.
“To have someone elected who would make such a comment sends a message: ‘We don’t care’,” Oliseh told BBC Sport.
“That he won the majority of the votes makes you question if this opinion is only his or whether it is also the opinion of the general public in Italy,” added Oliseh. “It is a big problem.
“The African players in Italy will still have to do their work and give their best. Some players may want to leave but might not get the opportunity to do so.
“For years, black players have had to fight against racism just to ply their trade and it is a situation that is out of hand.”
The Head of FIFA’s anti-racism task-force, Jeffrey Webb, said “the football community is appalled” by Tavecchio’s comment and Oliseh has backed the world governing body to continue “to wage war against racism” but warns that black footballers would not be pushovers.
He said: “FIFA is making a big effort to fight racism and I applaud the steps so far, but more has to be done. It is also up to the country federations to act.
“When the Italian Federation elects a man who makes these racist comments, you have to think that it is unlikely black people would be employed by that organisation and that is a shameful thing.
“But whatever happens, whatever comments are made, we will stand as one and black people in football will not cease to exist.”