Chris Hughton calls for sternest sanctions for racist abuse
Brighton manager says heavy fines or empty stadiums would be deterrents to racism
Chris Hughton: ‘The surprise you want now is for the correct authorities to clamp down on racism properly’. Photograph: Dan Istitene/Getty
Brighton boss Chris Hughton has called on the authorities to hand out the sternest possible sanctions in a bid to clamp down on racist abuse.
A number of England players — including Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi — were subject to racist chanting during England’s 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Montenegro on Monday night.
The Football Association described the incidents in Podgorica as “abhorrent”, while governing body Uefa subsequently opened proceedings against Montenegro, including a charge of racist behaviour.
England boss Gareth Southgate has underlined the need for education to try to tackle the issues head-on.
Former Republic of Ireland international Hughton, one of the few BAME coaches in high-profile management jobs, praised the approach of the England squad and staff for how they handled the situation, but feels a clear message must be sent from the governing bodies.
“The abuse that the players got wasn’t a surprise. It has happened before. I think people were talking about the possibility of it even before the game,” Hughton said in The Argus.
“When it happened it wasn’t that big a surprise to me. The surprise you want now is for the correct authorities to clamp down on it properly, not give out easy fines.
“The only way you can really punish the perpetrators for me are by very heavy fines or make them play in empty stadiums.
“It has to be something that is a deterrent and that hasn’t been happening.”
Brighton return to Premier League action on Saturday at home to relegation battlers Southampton.
Hughton revealed midfielder Davy Pröpper should be involved after being left out of Holland’s 3-2 defeat by Germany as a precaution after muscle stiffness.
Pascal Gross and Florin Andone could still be short of full fitness as they continue recovery from injury lay-offs.