ONE of Swindon Town FC’s sponsors will pull out if the club appoint Paolo di Canio as manager.
The GMB trade union has said if di Canio is given the job, they will be forced to cut all ties to the club as he is an open Fascist and admirer of Mussolini.
The Italian striker has been mooted as a front-runner for the role, and the Adver understands he has been interviewed this week.
The GMB union said it could never associate with such a man and it believes that other sponsors may also follow suit and withdraw their support for the club if he gets the job.
GMB branch secretary, and club supporter, Andy Newman, said should STFC appoint di Canio the union would find themselves in a difficult position.
“We’d be very reluctant to pull out financial support,” said the 49-year-old, of Belgrave Sreet.
“But because we’re a trade union with an official policy opposing Fascism, we’d have no choice.
“His own personal views are entirely up to him.
“The point is he hasn’t kept it to himself. He has made it a public issue. It’s not just the man’s private views, it’s his public association with Fascism.
“Other sponsors might think they don’t want to take part in controversy or be seen to be taking sides.
“People like ourselves, who have a firm policy against Fascism, wouldn’t let it go away. If one person bails out, then to not bail out is a conscious decision as well.
“We’re in a position where we don’t really have much choice. Swindon has a fantastic club, and a good brand. Everyone in town loves them.
“Paolo di Canio is a bit of a toxic brand, and we’re genuinely worried the change it might make to the genuinely brilliant brand Swindon Town has got.”
He added that the club’s official commitment to fighting racism would look ‘ridiculous’ if di Canio took over – although the footballer has in the past denied being a racist.
The GMB sponsors the team’s reserve goalkeeper Mark Scott, to the tune of £350 each year.
But it also pays around £3,500 to use its conference facilities for meetings and staff training days, all of which would come to an end.
The former West Ham striker has given Fascist salutes to fans, and had himself tattooed with the word ‘Dux’, the Latin form of Duce, Benito Mussolini’s nickname.
The club was contacted, but a spokesman said it had no comment to make.
Nigel Bennett, spokesman for the supporters’ club, said: “Obviously fans will have their favourites. But, you know, such is the way of the world. Others will be unhappy if their favourite isn’t
“There are obviously lots of issues flying around on the forum why people won’t or will like this particular individual.
“The supporters’ club is there to focus on developing facilities for fans at the county ground, and supporting youth development. That’s all we want to get involved in to be honest. Anything else
is outside our remit really.”
The club’s main sponsor for the coming season is Samsung.
Asked about di Canio’s far-right connections, it issued the following statement: “Samsung are proud to be sponsors of Swindon Town FC. We do not participate in the manager selection process.
“The club will inform us when the appointment has been made. Until then, the matter is pure speculation and we have no comment to make.”