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Soccer: Miliband quits Sunderland over Di Canio choice

Former Lazio striker made manager comes with political issues

Soccer: Miliband quits Sunderland over Di Canio choice

Rome, April 1 - Former British foreign secretary David Miliband on Monday said he is stepping down as vice-chairman of English soccer team Sunderland after former Lazio striker and self-professed fascist Paolo Di Canio was made team manager. Midiland said he will quit his position at the club due to the Italian's "past political statements". The former West Ham striker who admitted in the past to having fascist leanings told ANSA in 2005 that he was "a fascist, not a racist". Di Canio was fined by the international football federation FIFA twice in 2005 for giving the straight arm salute used by Fascists. The 44-year-old retired striker first went to Britain as a player in 1996 joining Celtic, then played for Glasgow, West Ham and Charlton. As a player, Di Canio's rebellious spirit often caused him problems with coaches and officials. In 1999 he was banned for 11 matches and fined £100,000 for pushing over a referee. But two years later British fans saw a very different side to Di Canio's character, when he opted to catch the ball rather than shoot during a league match for West Ham, because the opposition goalkeeper was on the ground injured. The gesture won him the 2001 FIFA Fair Play award.

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