This photo taken on April 5, 2014 in Vicenza shows Carlo Tavecchio attending a FIFA Women's World Cup qualifyer between Italy and Spain at the Romeo Menti stadium. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO LINGRIA
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Italy's dismal World Cup performance has added to the already depressing scenario of Serie A decline, falling attendances, racism, match-fixing and a failure to find new talent. Yet, with an Italian federation (FIGC) presidential election looming Monday, those pressing issues have been sidelined by the racism row involving Carlo Tavecchio, one of the two candidates for the position vacated by Giancarlo Abete. Tavecchio was addressing the thorny subject of the lack of opportunities for young Italian players in the professional clubs when he described African footballers as "banana eaters" and referred to a fictitious player he named Opti Poba. The campaign comes at a critical time for Italian football but its focus has turned to whether Tavecchio is a suitable candidate.There has been almost no debate, for example, on Albertini's proposals to cut the number of clubs in Serie A from 20 to 18 and force professional teams to have a set number of homegrown players in their squads. With European football's governing body UEFA and the Italian league itself fining clubs and ordering partial stadium closures for racist abuse by fans, a win for Tavecchio would prove highly uncomfortable.
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