Paolo Di Canio has been suspended by Sky Sport Italia after the channel received complaints about a fascist tattoo on his right upper-arm that was visible while he was presenting a show earlier this week.
Former Sunderland manager Di Canio, who spent eight years in Britain as a player, had his own "Di Canio Premier Show" in which he would round up the action in the Premier League each week, yet a promotional programme published by the television station on Facebook clearly showed a tattoo of the word "Dux" on his arm.
"Dux" is a Latin term referring to the leader of a military group or a commander. Unlike its analogous term "duke" in English, the word in the Italian language carries negative connotations linked with the dictator Benito Mussolini, who adopted the title for himself during his regime.
Di Canio, who played for clubs including Juventus, Napoli, AC Milan, Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Lazio, has been suspended by mutual agreement as a result of the complaints.
The ANSA news agency quoted Sky's executive vice-president Jacques Raynaud as saying: "We were made aware of a bit of emotion on social networks for a picture of our talented host Paolo Di Canio, with a certain tattoo showing on his arm.
"We made a mistake. We apologise to all those who we have offended. After talking at length with Di Canio and in spite of his professionalism and football competence, we have decided together to suspend his collaboration with us.
"We were made aware of a bit of emotion on social networks for a picture of our talented host Paolo Di Canio, with a certain tattoo showing on his arm."
The 48-year-old has never made a secret of his political beliefs, which prompted controversy during his playing career, notably when he made a fascist salute to Lazio fans after a derby win over Roma in 2005, repeating the gesture after games against Siena, Livorno and Juventus.
It is not clear whether Sky will reinstate the former player and manager in future.