Paolo Di Canio blasts racist accusations

Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio during the match against Bournemouth on January 12, 2013
© PA Photos
Sunderland's Italian manager Paolo Di Canio refutes suggestions that he is a racist.

New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has branded claims that he is a racist as "stupid and ridiculous".

Following his appointment to the Stadium of Light helm yesterday afternoon, some quotes attributed to the Italian from an interview back in 2005 were printed in the English media that painted him in a negative light.

However, speaking to the club's official website, Di Canio has launched a passionate defence of his character.

"Something can happen many years ago but what counts is the facts. My life speaks for me. Of course it hurts me because people try to take your dignity and that is not fair," he said. "I believe in my pillars and I have values. What offends me more than anything is not because they touch me, they touch what my parents gave to me, the values they gave to me and this is not acceptable.

"What I can say is that if someone is hurt, I am sorry. But this didn't come from me, it came from a big story that people put out in a different way to what it was.

"I never have a problem in my past. I expressed an opinion in an interview many years ago. Some pieces were taken for media convenience. They took my expression in a very, very negative way – but it was a long conversation and a long interview. It was not fair. I know it is a part of my job to do interviews because I am well known, but sometimes it suits their purpose to put big headlines and a big story.

"I don't have a problem with anyone. I haven't had a problem in the past and I don't know why I have to keep repeating my story, to be defending myself on something that doesn't belong to me every time I change clubs. 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, the Charlton manager – they can tell you everything about my character."

The North East club have also publicly backed their manager.

Swindon boss Paulo Di Canio on the touchline against Colchester on February 5, 2013
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