Union quits training event at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light over Di Canio fears

SAFC New head Coach Paulo Di Canio holds his first press conference today at the Academy of Light training ground.

SAFC New head Coach Paulo Di Canio holds his first press conference today at the Academy of Light training ground.

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UNION bosses have cancelled a training event planned for the Stadium of Light amid fears members would not attend in protest at Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland manager.

However, the TUC has denied it is boycotting the Black Cats.

Di Canio’s appointment after the sacking of Martin O’Neill sparked a media storm when SAFC director David Miliband resigned from the club’s board.

Di Canio later issued a statement distancing himself from reports that he had admitted to being a fascist in a newspaper interview.

He said: “I am not the man that some people like to portray. I am not political, I do not affiliate myself to any organisation, I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism.”

But the TUC confirmed it had still decided to move a training day scheduled to be held at the stadium.

“Trade union members have recently confirmed to us that they will not attend a forthcoming training event scheduled to take place at the Stadium of Light,” said North East regional secretary Kevin Rowan.

“While there is no boycott in place, we were approached by a number of trade union members indicating that they were unlikely to attend the event while it was at this particular venue as a direct result of the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as head coach.

“While the club have made that appointment for footballing reasons, they will fully understand the impact it has had in damaging the reputation of a club like Sunderland which has such a strong reputation as a community club.

“Trade union reps do a fantastic job in supporting workers to develop their learning and skills opportunities.

He added: “We advised the organiser of the views expressed and requested they change the venue.”