PAOLO Di Canio’s first Press conference with national newspapers descended into chaos as the new Sunderland head coach refused to answer the question ‘Are you a fascist or not?”
The Italian tried to moved swiftly to distance himself from discussion of his politics, which has dominated the news headlines since his appointment.
And he was quick to talk about how proud and excited he was to have been the job and the opportunity.
“I am only talking about football,” he said as he met the Press for the first time in the Academy of Light.”
But within minutes of sitting down with national journalists he was asked directly about his political beliefs and was clearly angered by the line of questioning.
“My life speaks for me and I don’t want to be talking about it because it is ridiculous - we are a football club, not the Houses of Parliament,” he said.
“I don’t want to keep going on about something which is nothing to do with my job.”
After a few preliminary questions, Di Canio was asked pointedly about his political beliefs but said: “I don’t have to answer any more this question.
“There was a very good statement that came out of the club with very, very clear words that came from me.
“My life speaks for me, so there is no need to speak any more about this situation because it is ridiculous and pathetic.”
The question kept being put to him and the club’s Press officer Louise Wanless warned that unless reporters switched back to footballing issues the interview would be cut short
Journalists continued their line of questioning insisting that it was a football issue.
And with Di Canio visibly getting angered, the Press conference was terminated.
Earlier he had insisted that his lack of Premier League managerial experience would be no barrier to success at Sunderland.
“Some players might not be happy I’m here because they had a good relationship with the previous manager but that is natural.
“I had a good talk with them.
“I am happy with that.
“And obviously we will look at changing the training sessions because that is such an important thing.
“But what makes me happy is that we have five or six player with a tremendous background and five or six young players who have energy and enthusiasm.
“Without a doubt we have a squad good enough to move away from the bottom of the table.”