LONDON (AP) — The Italian football federation's new president is being investigated by UEFA over an alleged racist comment and could be banned for three months.
Carlo Tavecchio, a long-standing executive in Italian soccer, was elected last week despite causing a stir over a reference to bananas when discussing the presence of foreign players in Italy.
Players' and coaches' associations in Italy both expressed outrage, and FIFA had urged the Italian federation to investigate. However, UEFA has intervened and opened a case that could result in Tavecchio being suspended for one to three months and fined if found guilty.
The 71-year-old Tavecchio has been "personally informed by UEFA about the decision of its chief ethics and disciplinary inspector to open a disciplinary investigation on alleged racist comments made by him," UEFA said.
Using a hypothetical name, Tavecchio had said, "In England they select players based on professionalism, whereas we say that 'Opti Poba' is here, he was eating bananas before and now he's starting for Lazio and that's OK."
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