On Sunday 30 March Sunderland football club welcomed Paulo Di Canio, a self-confessed fascist, as manager. He admitted in his autobiography: “I am fascinated by Mussolini, I think he was a deeply misunderstood individual. He deceived people. His actions were often vile. But all this was motivated by a higher purpose. He was basically a very principled individual.

Yet he turned against his sense of right and wrong. He compromised his ethics.” Di Canio has ‘DVX’ tattooed on his arm, which is a Latin symbol for Mussolini.

Di Canio claimed in 2005: “I am a fascist, not a racist” during an interview with Italian news agency ANSA. This statement came after he saluted Lazio’s ‘Ultras’ (a neo-Nazi organisation), which is one of the most prominent extreme right organisations in Europe. During his time at Lazio he gave the fascist salute several times.

More recently, on 1 April, while being questioned about his political beliefs, Di Canio said:  “Talk about racism? That is absolutely stupid, stupid and ridiculous. The people who know me can change that idea quickly. When I was in England my best friends were Trevor Sinclair and Chris Powell (black teammates)”. He said nothing to counter his association with fascism: “I don’t want to talk about politics because it’s not my area. We are not in the Houses of Parliament, we are in a football club. I want to talk about sport.”

Di Canio can say what he wants, but Fascism, his chosen belief, is not merely a political parliamentary ideology, it is Shame on Sunderland F.C.

Boycott Sunderland F.C.

But it is not just about racism. Racism, along with homophobia and sexism is a tactic to divide and oppress the working class as a whole. Fascism is about the absolute annihilation of workers organisations and apparatus. It is a system dedicated to reducing the working class into an atomised and subservient class, which has no rights and no organisation.

Whether or not he is an organised, militant fascist does not matter. Fascism must receive no platform in any circumstances. Di Canio’s appointment as manager, in the most watched football league in the world, is an attack on working class independence. While football has become detached from its working class roots it is still the working class who fund and support it. It is still the sport of the working class!

By accepting Di Canio as manager, the institutions are legitimising his beliefs at a time where fascism is on the rise across Europe as a reaction to the economic crises.

Di Canio out!