• Paolo Di Canio refuses to answer questions on political stance in press conference
• 44-year-old says he is “not a political person” and says he is “not in the Houses of Parliament”
• David Miliband quit Sunderland board in wake of Di Canio’s appointment, citing former Celtic striker’s alignment with fascism
In a stormy news conference the 44-year-old Italian was asked on several occasions if he was a fascist but did not respond.
Instead he said the club had already made a very good statement and that he works for a football club, not in the Houses of Parliament.
“I don’t have to answer any more this question. There was a very good statement from the club, (with) very, very clear words that came out from me,” he said.
“My life speaks for me so there is no need to speak any more about this situation because it’s ridiculous and pathetic.
“I can’t every two weeks, every two months, every 10 months answer the same questions that are not really in my area.
“We are in a football club and not in the House of Parliament. I’m not a political person, I will talk about only football.”
But the controversy surrounding his appointment to the North East club has continued to grow with the Durham Miners’ Association demanding the club returns the Wearmouth Miners’ Banner.
The banner is on permanent display at the Stadium of Light and the General Secretary of the association, Dave Hopper, has written to the club expressing his outrage.
“I like many thousands of miners have supported Sunderland from infancy and are passionate about football. But, there are principles which are much more important,” he said.
“Our banner represents the Durham miners’ long struggle for the rights of the working class, rights which were annihilated by fascism in Germany, Italy, Spain and Chile.
“We have a sacred obligation to the millions who were wiped out by Hitler, Mussolini and Franco to oppose fascism wherever and in whatever context this evil creed raises its head particularly at a time when working people are again being forced to pay for capitalism’s crisis as they were in Europe in the 1920s and 30s.
“The appointment of Di Canio is a disgrace and a betrayal of all who fought and died in the fight against fascism.
“Everyone must speak out and oppose this outrage and call on Ellis Short and the Sunderland board to reverse their decision.”