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Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Di Canio vows to stop giving fascist salute

ROME -- Italian soccer player Paolo Di Canio told a Rome radio station Wednesday he will no longer use his fascist salute.

The Lazio striker said he will "abstain" from giving the stiff-arm salute that has resulted in a suspension, fines and widespread condemnation.

However, he said he would continue to fight the disciplinary action he has recently received.

"I will avoid certain situations, but I will continue my battles, without second thoughts and with even more decisiveness," Di Canio said during the interview with Radio6. "I will abstain unless judges condone the gesture."

Italian papers ran photos on Dec. 12 showing the 37-year-old Di Canio with his arm outstretched as he was being substituted during the second half of Lazio's 2-1 loss to Livorno the previous day.

He was suspended for one game and fined $11,977 by the Italian league's disciplinary commission on Dec. 20. Di Canio appealed the suspension.

The arm gesture is associated in Italy with the salute used under the rule of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Lazio's hardcore supporters are known for their far right-wing political beliefs.

A year ago, Di Canio was photographed making the salute after his team's 3-1 victory over AS Roma. He was fined $13,400 by the federation.

Di Canio has maintained the gesture has no political significance.

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