‘Let’s move on and focus on football’ – Dean on Durham on Sunderland’s Di Canio

Rt. Revd Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham.

Rt. Revd Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham.

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PRIOR to Paolo Di Canio’s statement denying any allegiance to fascism, the Dean of Durham had written an open letter to new Sunderland manager expressing concerns about his views.

The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, the son of a Jewish war refugee and a Sunderland supporter, said he was struggling to stay loyal to the club and that he found Di Canio’s “self-confessed fascism deeply troubling”.

However, following the Italian’s statement claiming “I do not support the ideology of fascism”, the Dean said: “My open letter to Paolo Di Canio was written out of concerns that I know many shared.

“I wrote it with care, trying to voice what I thought were the important questions that needed asking.

“Mr Di Canio’s statement has provided these answers and I warmly welcome that.

“This will allow everyone to move forward and focus on football and the job to be done at one of the North East’s great clubs.”

Di Canio had refused to confirm or deny whether he was a fascist at a news conference on Tuesday but has previously stated he is “a fascist but not a racist”.

In his open letter to Di Canio, the Dean of Durham wrote: “Fascism was nearly the undoing of the world. It cost millions of innocent lives.”