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Football: Juventus boss calls for unity after racism row

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri called for unity in Italian football's fight against racism after the election of a controversial new head of the sport in the country.

SINGAPORE: Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri called for unity in Italian football's fight against racism after the election of a controversial new head of the sport in the country.

Allegri, speaking ahead of a pre-season friendly in Singapore, said it was a "difficult time" for football in Italy after a series of racial incidents.

This week, Carlo Tavecchio was elected head of the Italian football federation despite allegations that he made a racist comment about African players. Former Juventus player Patrick Vieira has said he found Tavecchio's election "hard to believe".

Allegri did not comment directly on Tavecchio, but said everyone needed to work together against racism. "As far as the election of the president of the federation goes, it's important that in a difficult time like this, everyone works together to eliminate this (racism) from Italian football," he said.

In May, Italian Serie A side Atalanta were fined by FIFA after bananas were thrown at AC Milan defender Kevin Constant. And after the World Cup, striker Mario Balotelli hit out at what he called his "racist" detractors after being blamed for the Azzurri's early exit.

Allegri also tried to dampen speculation surrounding Chilean star Arturo Vidal, who is linked with a move to Manchester United and has been training separately following a knee injury. "He's training, he's done a week of separate training and he'll rejoin the squad in the next few days. He's a Juventus player and he'll stay with Juventus for sure," Allegri said. 

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