Carlo Tavecchio, the president of the Italian Soccer Federation, insisted on Monday that he's not homophobic despite saying that he prefers to avoid gays.

On Sunday, Milan daily Corriere della Sera published quotes from a recording made last year in which Tavecchio is heard saying that he has “nothing against [gays], but keep them away from me. I am very normal.”

Tavecchio said in a statement posted on the federation's website that his remarks were made during a private conversation and that he was unaware that they had been recorded, the The New York Times reported.

“I have never discriminated against anyone” for being gay, he said. “I respect everyone's choices.”

The 72-year-old Tavecchio added that he does not think that being gay should be a crime.

In the same recording, Tavecchio can be heard saying it's “best to keep [Jews] at bay” and complains about the sale of a building to a “lousy Jew.”

He insisted Monday that he's not anti-Semitic.