ROME: Carlo Tavecchio, the would-be president of the Italian federation, has dealt his prospects a further blow with his latest hapless comments writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Tavecchio, head of the amateur game in Italy, had been considered clear favourite to beat fellow FIGC vice-president Demetrio Albertini in the race to succeed Giancarlo Abete who quit after the Azzurri’s World Cup first-round exit in Brazil.

That was until Tavecchio sparked worldwide condemnation for describing African players as “banana eaters” in comments criticising the influx of foreign players into the Italian game.

World federation FIFA demanded an explanation from the Italian federation.

Now Tavecchio, who had originally counted on the support of almost all the Serie A clubs, has put his foot in it again.

“The assassin of John F Kennedy* did not have to put up with what I have in the last few days,” said Tavecchio in an interview with the Radio I channel a week ahead of next Sunday’s election.

Dwindling lead

This latest comment could prove crucial after an assessment in the Gazzetta dello Sport that Tavacchio’ lead over Albertini among the powerful Serie A clubs had dwindled from 18-2 to 11-9 with Empoli the latest to change sides in despair.

Italy and Juventus Giorgio Chiellini has also joined the criticism of Tavecchio.

During a general a pre-season interview he said: “I read his words and they concerned me,. I asked myself how could Italian football be heading towards an election in such a manner. I have nothing personal against Tavecchio but, at the moment, the only adequate person for the role is Albertini.

“We cannot let Italian football embarrass itself again. We need a person with a certain decorum and personality to fill such roles.”

* Lee Harvey Oswald, arrested for shooting President Kennedy in Dallas in November 1963, was himself shot dead two days later while in police custody.