Paris: European football`s governing body UEFA has opened an investigation into an alleged racist comment made by new Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio.
At a public meeting last month, Tavecchio said that "Here we get `Opti Poba` who previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first-team player at Lazio."
The comments, which appeared to be aimed at France and Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, sparked controversy in Italy.
Tavecchio insisted Monday that he had "a clear conscience" despite the furore sparked by his comment.
"I adopted three African children, I also run a tomato-growing cooperative there and built two hospitals," Tavecchio, who was voted in last Monday, pointed out at the end of his first federal board meeting in Rome.
Tavecchio added that he had received "letters of support from Africa written by doctors, religious people and members of civil society".
"I didn`t mean to hurt anybody," insisted the 71-year-old before an audience of Italian football administrators before saying that he "had already apologised" and that "it is what one does that counts".