Swindon Town F.C. announced the appointment of Paolo Di Canio to replace Paul Hart as manager of the recently relegated club, a move made despite the former Lazio/West Ham striker’s well-publicized tendency of sieg-heiling in public places. While it might not trouble Robins ownership, UK trade union GMB have withdrawn their sponsorship of the club. From the Guardian :
The GMB said the former Italy international, who was named manager yesterday, had previously voiced right-wing views of which it strongly disapproved. The union’s local branch is believed to have paid up to £4,000 to the club this season as part of its sponsorship deal.
“Our local branch has decided to end its association with Swindon following the appointment of Paolo Di Canio,” said a GMB spokesman. “He has openly voiced support for [Benito] Mussolini so it beggars belief that Swindon could have appointed him, especially given the multi-ethnic nature of the team and the town.”
Di Canio has spoken freely about being a fascist and an admirer of Mussolini. He has faced bans and fines for making the fascist straight-arm salute while playing for the Italian club Lazio. In his autobiography he praised Mussolini as “basically a very principled, ethical individual”.