Labour MP David Miliband has resigned from the board of Sunderland FC because of new manager Paolo Di Canio's "past political statements".
Mr Di Canio has previously claimed to be "a fascist, not a racist".
The former UK foreign secretary was serving as the club's vice-chairman and as a non-executive director.
Mr Miliband wished the club "all success in the future. It is a great institution that does a huge amount for the North East".
Mr Di Canio was pictured in 2005 making a raised-arm salute to a group of supporters of Italian club Lazio, where he was playing.
He was given a one-match ban and fined £7,000 for the incident, and was also banned for a match following a similar incident earlier in 2005.
In 2011, when Mr Di Canio was appointed as Swindon Town's manager, the GMB union withdrew its sponsorship of the club, citing his political views.
Mr Di Canio scored 48 goals in 118 appearances for West Ham after joining the London club for £1.7m from Sheffield Wednesday in 1999. He began his career at Lazio, and also played for Juventus, Napoli, AC Milan, Celtic and Charlton before later returning to Lazio.
Playing for Sheffield Wednesday in 1998, he pushed referee Paul Alcock to the ground after being sent off and was banned for 11 matches.