Italian Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio has vehemently denied that he is homophobic and anti-Semitic after he was recorded apparently making discriminatory comments.
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published extracts at the weekend of a recorded conversation between Tavecchio and Massimiliano Giacomini, director of Italian sports website SoccerLife, which took place prior to the former becoming head of the FIGC.
Tavecchio claims he never gave consent to that interview and insists was he unaware that the “private conversation with Giacomini” was being recorded.
Moreover, the FIGC chiefs maintains his remarks were “manipulated” and says he has already made his legal team aware of the facts.
Tavecchio added in a statement published on the FIGC website: “My words are clear and I have reiterated my long-term rapport of personal and professional respect for Jews.
“I’m happy that, among others, the Israeli ambassador in Italy has confirmed this and I thank him.
“Regarding the accusations of homophobia, the audio is very clear from the moment I say that ‘I have nothing against homosexuals’ and that I have never discriminated against anyone for that reason.
“I respect everyone’s choices.”
The 72-year-old Tavecchio was banned from all football activities by UEFA and FIFA for six months last November after referring to “eating bananas” when discussing foreign players during the election campaign earlier last year.
Despite his controversial remarks, for which he subsequently apologised, Tavecchio won the election to replace Giancarlo Abete as president of the FIGC.