Sunderland's new football manager Paolo Di Canio has described the controversy over his appointment as "ridiculous and pathetic" and he refused to answer questions at his first news conference overnight as to whether or not he held fascist beliefs.
44 year old Di Canio's appointment to relegation-threatened Sunderland sparked the resignation of Britain's former Foreign secretary David Milband from the club's board.
Miliband stepped down because of remarks Di Canio made in 2005 when he described himself as a "fascist, not a racist".
Di Canio says he was quoted out of context.
The Italian had a colourful playing career in the top Italian and English leagues, but this is his first appointment as a premier league manager.