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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 26 September, 2018

Steps still must be taken to rid football of racism, says Chris Hughton

In light of another embarrassing week for the FA, the former Ireland international notes that while progress has been made, unacceptable behaviour remains.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton
Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton

BRIGHTON AND HOVE Albion boss Chris Hughton feels there is still an “unacceptable” level of offensive behaviour in football despite significant improvements in recent years.

The Football Association has been in the spotlight this week following an investigation into the conduct of former England women’s boss Mark Sampson.

The FA apologised to England players Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence after new evidence showed Sampson to have made remarks that were “discriminatory on the grounds of race”.

Hughton, who became the first mixed-race player to represent the Republic of Ireland, says there is a “better environment” in football today but still believes there are steps forward to be taken.

“We are all very aware at this particular moment of what does cross the line, certainly anything that is deemed offensive to any individual,” he told a press conference today.

“It’s not just about what’s offensive to the changing room. If there is something said that’s offensive to one particular individual, it’s crossing the line.

“What we have in the game at the moment is certainly a better environment than there used to be, but there are areas that are still very much unacceptable.

In our workplace at the moment, I think we are very aware of what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable.”

Hughton takes his Brighton side to face West Ham on Friday, looking to claim a first away Premier League win of the season.

There is greater pressure on opposite number Slaven Bilic, however, with the Hammers having won only one of their last four league games.

Hughton believes the speculation over Bilic’s future is unfair but says it stems from a culture that is unlikely to change.

“Personally, I think it is too soon,” he said, just two days after Leicester City sacked manager Craig Shakespeare. “But it’s something that we have very much got used to.

“It’s the pressure of management, it’s the pressure of needing to get results so quickly. The clamour of everybody involved in the club, in the game, that you have to get instant results.

“Certainly, when there has been investment in clubs and, of course the foreign owners that we have now want results instantly and it’s something that we’ve got used to. I don’t see it changing.”

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