President of the Players’ Association Damiano Tommasi said he received complaints after Carlo Tavecchio’s racist comment.
Tavecchio is the front-runner to be elected President of the FIGC (Italian Football Federation) on August 11, but caused controversy when discussing the lack of work permit requirements for overseas players.
“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.”
There have been calls for him to step down as a candidate for FIGC and President of the AIC (Players’ Association) Tommasi joined them.
“I am disconcerted by Tavecchio’s comments on bananas and ‘Opti Pobà.’ I don’t know whether to be even more shocked by the silence that surrounded them,” Tommasi told Ansa news agency.
“I have received numerous phone calls of protest from Italian and foreign players who are just astounded by this.”
Tavecchio apologised last night, insisting he “did not mean to offend anyone” and seemingly not understanding what he had said to cause offence.