Carlo Tavecchio, who hopes to become the next president of the Italian Football Association (FIGC), is to proceed with his candidacy despite being embroiled in a racism row.
Tavecchio, the current president of the Italian Amateur Football Association (LND), has faced widespread condemnation after his alleged remarks about players "who previously ate bananas" being welcomed at Serie A clubs without proving their worth.
However, he is still regarded as favourite to win the election, which will be held on Aug. 11, due to the large proportion of votes reserved to the LND. They would guarantee him already a third of the vote, with other FIGC institutions still thought to be behind the 71-year-old.
Both FIFA and UEFA have called for an enquiry while he has lost support of several Serie A clubs in recent days but, after meeting with Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president Giovanni Malago on Thursday, Tavecchio insisted he will not step down.
"While I continue to enjoy the support of the leagues, I will carry forward my candidacy," Tavecchio said, according to La Stampa. "I have to thank president Malago for the welcome he gave me. It was a long and detailed talk about my plans. I gave all the explanations requested."
After the meeting, Malago expressed his dismay at the words Tavecchio had used when presenting his manifesto last weekend.
"Tavecchio repeated his apologies, but the phrase he coined is unacceptable," he said. "It's not good in the world of sport, and not only there."
Nevertheless, he has not ordered Tavecchio to pull out of the race, with the only other candidate being Demetrio Albertini, who is gaining ground in recent polls after Serie A clubs started to show support for the former AC Milan midfielder.
"Tavecchio and I are different," Albertini said after his own meeting with Malago on Thursday. "We both have our own paths and our own ideas. We both have responsibility for ourselves."