Rome: A senior member of the Italian government on Tuesday condemned Arrigo Sacchi`s claim there are too many black players in Italian youth football as a "grave error."
"The Italy of 30 years ago is not the Italy of today," said Graziano Delrio, the State Secretary to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who also holds responsibility for sport in the Italian council of ministers.
"Today there are young players who are Italian citizens in fact and by right given that they were born and raised in Italy even if their parents had overseas roots," Delrio said in a statement.
"They are part of the young generations who go to our schools, who play on our football and sports fields.
"And the theme of skin colour is certainly not where we should start trying to revitalise our youth system."
Sacchi, a revered former AC Milan and Italy coach, has been condemned around the world for his comments that there were "too many blacks" playing in Italy`s under-20 leagues and that the country "now has no dignity or pride."
Sacchi has insisted that his comments have been taken out of context and that he is not a racist.