Miners demand banner return

The Durham Miners' Association will ask Sunderland to return a banner after blasting the appointment of Paolo Di Canio.

Last Updated: 01/04/13 at 23:24 Post Comment

Paolo Di Canio: The new Sunderland manager

Paolo Di Canio: The new Sunderland manager

The Durham Miners' Association will ask Sunderland to return a banner currently on display at the Stadium of Light after branding the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as "betrayal and a disgrace".

The home of the Black Cats stands on the site of the former Wearmouth Colliery and the Wearmouth Miners' Banner has been a permanent symbolic feature at the stadium.

But the organisation have released a statement urging owner Ellis Short to change his mind about making Di Canio the club's head coach, citing to the controversial issue of the Italian's political beliefs, or return the item.

Former foreign secretary David Miliband began the dissent against Di Canio's hiring, referring to his "past political statements".

Di Canio has previously declared himself "a fascist, not a racist" but attempted to cool any anger against him by saying media representations of his position have not been fair.

Nevertheless, the DMA has made its views clear.

Dave Hopper, the organisation's general secretary, said in a statement on the DMA website: "I, like many thousands of miners, have supported Sunderland from infancy and are passionate about football. But, there are principles which are much more important.

"The appointment of Di Canio is a disgrace and a betrayal of all who fought and died in the fight against fascism.

"Everyone must speak out and oppose this outrage and call on Ellis Short and the Sunderland board to reverse their decision.

"Our banner represents the Durham miners' long struggle for the rights of the working class, rights which were annihilated by fascism in Germany, Italy, Spain and Chile.

"We have a sacred obligation to the millions who were wiped out by Hitler, Mussolini and Franco to oppose fascism wherever and in whatever context this evil creed raises its head - particularly at a time when working people are again being forced to pay for capitalism's crisis as they were in Europe in the 1920s and 30s."


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