ROME: Carlo Tavecchio, despite the ‘banana eaters’ controversy, has been voted in as new president of the Italian football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The 71-year-old president of the country’s amateur leagues won in a third round of voting among members of the FIGC at the Hilton Airport Hotel at Fiumicino.

Tavecchio, who prompted international controversy with his description of African footballers two weeks ago, secured 63.63pc of the vote ahead of his fellow former federation vice-president, Demetrio Albertini, on 33.95pc.

He said that he had “learned lessons” from events of the past two weeks.

Problems may not be all over for Tavecchio whose political and television rights interests were also factors in the vote. The 20 clubs of Serie A finished up virtually split in half over Tavecchio; their problem was that Albertini was not considered a credible enough alternative.

Tavecchio’s first managerial issue will be to appoint a new national coach to succeed Cesare Prandelli who resigned after Italy’s group stage failure at the World Cup finals.

An early favourite is Alberto Zaccheroni, who stepped down after similarly failing to take Japan beyond the group stage, with ex-under-21s’ coach Marco Tardelli as assistant. Antonio Conte and Roberto Mancini are other names in the frame.

Tavecchio has said he has yet to discuss the issue but intends to to name the new man next Monday, on the day of the first council meeting under his presidency.

For and against

It is believed that 13 Serie A clubs – led by Lazio president Claudio Lotito – supported Tavecchio in the first round of voting. Opposition was led by champions Juventus, Roma and Torino. He enjoyed solid support from Serie B, the lower divisions’ Lega Pro organisation and the amateur game.

Tavecchio, in a statement of acceptance, said: “The events of the past few weeks have taught me lessons that will put to good use.

“In an era in which we must pay more attention to the power of words I will try to improve my manner of being a bit ‘rough and ready’ as it has been described.

“I would also like to thank those who legitimately have made different choices. I intend to be a president for everyone, especially for those who expressed dissent. Judge me on our actions together.

“As I said in my campaign, there are no magic recipes. There is a culture of work and I would invite all members to abandon past divisions and get to work. ”

The Italian federation has been asked by FIFA to report back on the racist nature of Tavecchio’s original remarks which also drew criticism from UEFA for whom he is a member of the European federation’s amateur and youth football committee.