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UEFA bans Italian football federation president Tavecchio for 6 months for racist comment

10/07/2014 11:30 EDT | Updated 12/07/2014 05:59 EST
NYON, Switzerland - UEFA banned Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio for six months on Tuesday following a racist comment during his election campaign.

Tavecchio, a long-standing executive in Italian football, was elected president in August despite causing a stir over a reference to bananas when discussing the presence of foreign players in Italy.

"Mr. Tavecchio will be ineligible for any position as a UEFA official for a period of six months starting from the communication of this decision," UEFA said in a statement. "Mr. Tavecchio will not participate in the next UEFA Congress scheduled for 24 March 2015."

UEFA also said Tavecchio will have to "organize a special event in Italy aimed at increasing awareness ... against racism."

Tavecchio, who has a UEFA role as a member of its youth and amateur football committee, will continue as head of the FIGC.

The FIGC announced it will not appeal.

Using a hypothetical name, Tavecchio had said: "In England they select players based on professionalism, whereas we say that 'Opti Poba' is here, he was eating bananas before and now he's starting for Lazio and that's OK."

The Italian federation's internal prosecutor dropped his inquiry over the comment but UEFA, following an investigation, opened disciplinary proceedings against Tavecchio on Sept. 29 at the request of its chief ethics and disciplinary inspector.

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