Football: Italian chief in hot water once more over discriminatory remarks

ROME (REUTERS) - Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio is in trouble again, this time for apparently making disparaging comments about Jews and gays, which have led to fresh calls for his resignation.

An Italian newspaper published extracts at the weekend of an interview the 72-year-old had given to sports website SoccerLife.it last June, shortly before he became head of the FIGC.

In it, he said it was better to keep Jews "at arms length", then went on to say that while he had "nothing against" homosexuals, he want them kept "far away from me".

Tavecchio said the interview was taped without his knowledge and questioned whether the recording had been manipulated. He also accused the website of trying to blackmail him, something Soccerlife has denied.

Flavio Romani, head of Italy's Aricgay movement, said Tavecchio should be kept "far away from a position of responsibility in sport", while the head of Rome's Jewish community called on Italian sport "to take a step back".

Tavecchio was barred last year from holding any position with world governing body Fifa for six months after he had made a comment about a fictitious African player he named Opti Poba "eating bananas".

The comment, made before he took charge of the FIGC, came as he was addressing the question of the lack of opportunities for young Italian players at professional clubs.