Sport Soccer

Friday 20 September 2019

Hughton feels greater top-level inclusion is needed to help eradicate racism

The Brighton boss believes change is needed in positions at the very top of sport.

Brighton manager Chris Hughton turned 60 this week (Anthony Devlin/PA Images)
Brighton manager Chris Hughton turned 60 this week (Anthony Devlin/PA Images)

By Press Association Sport staff

Chris Hughton believes greater inclusion is required before true progress can be made in eradicating racism from football.

At the conclusion of a week in which Chelsea have criticised their own supporters for singing anti-Semitic chants and suspended four individuals after Raheem Sterling claimed he was racially abused at Stamford Bridge, the topic is again being scrutinised.

Brighton’s Hughton, who turned 60 this week, is alongside Nuno Espirito Santo of Wolves as one of the Premier League’s only two black managers, and it is in positions at the very top of the sport where he feels change is most needed.

The Football Association is one organisation that has long been largely populated by white, middle-aged males, and the Brighton manager said: “I’ve always thought and spoken about inclusion in our game, and that means management at the top level, board level.

“If I’m looking at The FA and Premier League it’s that type of inclusion in the top roles. I’ve spoken about what I feel is the lack of black managers at the highest level, as such. What’s good for our game is total inclusion – and I think is what everybody wants to see.

“The only thing that can be done by all clubs is what all clubs do. Credit to all clubs – if there are incidences anywhere, the clubs are very quickly on that, and that’s banning supporters deemed to have made racial comments.

“Clubs are on top of what they see – (but) if we’re talking about eradicating something from our game or society it’s about a culture, and making sure people are respectful of all colours and creeds.

“Racial events in our game, which we are trying as hard as we can to eradicate, are always going to happen.

“You hope that it’s something that doesn’t escalate. Sometimes when times are harder, they become more relevant. But racism holds no place in our game, it holds no place in society, but unfortunately there are always going to be incidences.”

Brighton host Chelsea on Sunday in the Premier League, and Hughton will hand Jose Izquierdo a late fitness test before selecting his starting XI.

The forward has been struggling with a knee injury and could yet join the suspended Shane Duffy as an absentee, but Hughton said: “We’re going to see whether Izquierdo can train. Apart from that we have everybody available.

“Chelsea have adapted very well (to their new manager, Maurizio Sarri). Any team that beats Manchester City at the moment shows the quality they’ve got.”

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