‘It’s Best to Keep Jews Under Control,’ Says Italian Football Federation President
Italian Football Federation President Carlo Tavecchio is under attack for making antisemitic remarks, Football Italia reported on Sunday.
Tavecchio, known for his tendency to utter racist slurs and then deny he said or meant them, was caught on tape using a derogatory Italian word for Jew – “ebreaccio” – during a conversation with a representative of the sports web site Soccerlife.
Discussing Italy’s umbrella organization for amateur soccer, Tavecchio complained about the involvement in the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti on the part of real estate mogul Cesare Anticoli, a prominent Italian Jew and proud Israel-supporter.
Segments of the audio were released by the Italian daily il Corriere della Sera, in which Tavecchio can be heard saying about Anticoli: “I don’t have anything against Jews, but it’s best to keep them under control.”
He then proceeded to go after gays. Speaking about a predecessor in his position, Tavecchio said, “I have nothing against homosexuals, but keep them away from me; I am perfectly normal.”
When faced with the backlash from his comments, Tavecchio went on the offensive. “I am clearly the victim of a blackmail attempt,” he said. “I don’t remember the exact words I used in that conversation, which could have been manipulated. I have excellent relationships with the Jewish community and any attempt to discredit or slander me by illicit means, by these methods which are nowadays so common, will be countered within the appropriate institutions.”
Last year, before Tavecchio took up his post as president of the federation, he came under fire for talking about African players as less professional and unworthy — and referred to them as banana-eaters.