• Charlton Manager stops short of defending former teammate
  • Di Canio said friendship with Powell proves he is not a racist

Charlton manager Chris Powell has remained uncommitted to the issue of whether Paolo Di Canio is a racist.

Powell (pictured, centre) was described by Di Canio as a “best friend” from his playing days. The Italian has been forced to defend himself from accusations of fascism since he was appointed as Sunderland manager on Sunday.

“You’ll have to ask him,” said Powell when questioned about Di Canio’s politics. He added, “Paolo was part of my club career, being a team-mate of mine and I met him socially. Sunderland has made a bold decision.”

Powell’s failure to explicitly exonerate Di Canio of racism could suggest that he is not entirely convinced himself. “I met him socially” is hardly a whole-hearted agreement of friendship.

The furore over Di Canio’s politics shows no sign of abating. Some have called for a all out boycott of Sunderland, while others have seen it as an example of the lack of ethics in Premier League football.

The problem for Di Canio is that his confusing array of responses and explanations have failed to shed any light on his true colours. As long as there remains no concrete explanation, people will not be satisfied and this sorry saga will drag on.