Paolo Di Canio: Politics and Football

The hysteria has emerged from all corners since Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland AFC Head Coach. The twitter hand-wringers have led the way, with the media following in behind. Much of it has derived from those of a political bent, with only a passing interest in football.

Very little in life is as black and white as some would like. As with a lot of people who are not professional politicians, Paolo Di Canio’s politics shift and merge across a variety of points of the political spectrum. Very few of his critics will have read the most detailed English language Paolo Di Canio interview ( ), nor will many have read his critically-acclaimed autobiography (ghosted by Gabriele Marcotti), and even fewer (certainly amongst the post-Sunderland debate) have read his Italian newspaper columns. So very few have a genuine understanding of Di Canio’s political views and even if you had read all of the above, I’m sure you still wouldn’t have huge enlightenment on the subject. All of the above primarily focused on football, and not politics, as one would expect. However, everyone seems to have read the provocative Di Canio piece, courtesy of the Telegraph, with it‘s out-of-context quotes ( ). I don’t know the detail on Paolo Di Canio’s political views, it seems that nobody truly does. Di Canio’s political views appear to be a mish-mash of anti-racism, Samurai honour, and some of that hard to define fascism.  From what is in the public domain, it is very difficult to pigeonhole Di Canio’s political views and indeed difficult to think of any non-politician whose political views you could easily, and accurately, pigeonhole.

Everybody hence perhaps needs to take a step back and accept that we cannot simply put Paolo Di Canio into one political box and castigate him forever more for those views. We may have to accept that Paolo Di Canio will never step out and give a full breakdown of all his political views in manifesto form. There is no genuine reason for Di Canio to give such detailed clarification of his political views, Di Canio is not standing for political office, Di Canio is a football coach.

Politics and football very rarely mix in England. There does not appear to be any unequivocal case for that principle to alter on the subject of Di Canio.

By Tom,



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