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Northern League politician calls Palermo 'Africa'

Massimo Bessone ridicules Sicily ahead of Verona soccer match

27 November, 17:33
Northern League politician calls Palermo 'Africa' (ANSA) - Palermo, November 27 - A northern Italian politician and mid-level member of the populist Northern League party sparked an online brouhaha on Tuesday when he referred to Sicily as Africa in a Facebook comment.

"It is our team's first official game in Africa," said Massimo Bessone of the Verona soccer team's scheduled match with Palermo in the Sicilian team's home stadium on Tuesday evening.

The two teams are vying for position in the Italian Cup.

Bessone lives in the northeastern region of Trentino-Alto Adige, and is a city council member for Bressanone. He is also a coordinator for the Northern League, which advocates seceding from central and southern Italy. Bessone made his comment on the "Hellas Verona Style" Facebook page.

Bessone's website vigorously denied that either he or the Northern League were racist.