There are growing calls for Carlo Tavecchio to step down as candidate for the FIGC Presidency after a racist gaffe.
The current President of the LND (amateur league) is widely expected to win the election in the Italian Federation on August 11.
He has the backing of the LND, Lega Pro, Serie B and all but two Serie A clubs – Juventus and Roma.
However, the 71-year-old caused controversy with his comments on the lack of a work permit system for importing players from overseas.
“In England they identify the players coming in and, if they are professional, they are allowed to play.
“Instead, here we say that any old Opti Pobà can come here, before he was eating bananas, now he’s playing in the Lazio first XI.
“In England the players have to prove their curriculum and pedigree first.”
Tavecchio later apologised for any offence caused, insisting he only wanted to illustrate the issue of work permits.
The controversy is continuing with many on social media arguing he cannot be put in charge of the Federation just as they are increasing penalties for racist abuse.
Twitter users have mocked Tavecchio’s speech by providing photoshopped images of his head inside a banana and creating a Lazio jersey with the made-up name Opti Pobà.
The only other candidate for the FIGC role is Demetrio Albertini.