KEIR RADNEDGE in MONTE CARLO: UEFA is unclear over what new Italian federation president Carlo Tavecchio is planning for next month’s anti-discrimination conference in Rome.
The European federation is staging the fourth a fourth pan-European conference on anti-discrimination in the Italian capital on September 10 and 11.
The 200-plus attendees will include representatives of NGO’s, ethnic minorities, experts, activists, FA’s, leagues and clubs. Participants will also include all UEFA member FAs, experts, NGOs and member groups from Football Against Racism in Europe.
However the host Italian federation has been assailed over the past month by the controversy aroused during the recent FIGC presidential campaign when Tavecchio referred to African footballers as “banana eaters.” Despite the furore sparked by the comments he was elected to the presidency.
UEFA has since opened a disciplinary investigation into his comments though he has been cleared of any offence by the Italian federation’s own disciplinary judge.
Initially, as president of the FIGC, Tavecchio had been expected to deliver a welcome address to the 200-plus conference delegates.
The “banana eaters” controversy, however, has left UEFA unclear what, if any, role he will now play. Tavecchio was not present at the meeting of national association presidents here in Monaco.
General secretary Gianni Infantino said: “We don’t know whether he will come to the conference give a welcome address or not. The conference is one thing, the disciplinary process is another. The one really has nothing to do with the other.”
Tavecchio may not find UEFA’s disciplinary panel as forgiving as his own Italian judge.
UEFA president Michel Platini said: “The fight against racism is at the heart of our efforts. Our disciplinary bodies have a free hand to implement to the letter our rules regarding all issues of discrimination. We are organising this conference on the topic . . . and UEFA needs to lead by example over issues of respect and diversity.”