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Brighton sack manager Hughton after 17th-place finish

Brighton won just two Premier League games in the second half of the season. Credit: PA

Brighton have sacked manager Chris Hughton following the club's poor run of form in 2019.

Albion scraped Premier League survival by two points following just two wins from 18 top-flight matches since the turn of the year.

Seagulls chairman Tony Bloom told the club website: "Undoubtedly, this has been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make as chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion, but ultimately one I have made due to how we struggled in the second half of the season.

"Our run of three wins from 23 Premier League matches put our status at significant risk. It is with that in mind, and the performances during that period, that I now feel it's the right time for a change."

Hughton took over at Brighton in December 2014, taking them to the Premier League in the summer of 2017.

"Chris will always be very fondly remembered by Albion staff and fans as one of our club's finest and most-respected managers," Bloom added.

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Brighton's Hughton urges tougher punishments to deter racist abuse

Brighton boss Chris Hughton has called on the authorities to hand out the sternest possible sanctions to in a bid to clamp down on racist abuse. Credit: PA

Brighton boss Chris Hughton has called on the authorities to hand out the sternest possible sanctions to 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.

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."

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Chris Hughton says racism row between Gaetan Bong and Jay Rodriguez is 'in the past' ahead of FA Cup tie

Brighton boss Chris Hughton said the racism row is 'in the past' Credit: PA

Brighton boss Chris Hughton insists the racism row between Gaetan Bong and Jay Rodriguez is very much in the past ahead of the FA Cup clash with West Brom.

Seagulls full-back Bong alleged he was racially abused by Baggies striker Rodriguez during a Premier League match at The Hawthorns in January of last year.

The charge was found to be "not proven" by the Football Association, although the governing body said it was satisfied Bong's complaint was "made in absolute good faith".

Rodriguez is in line to face Bong and Brighton for the first time since the incident during Saturday's fourth-round tie at the Amex Stadium.

"There have been issues before and we are all very conscious of that," said Hughton.

"But that was something in the past, I think it has to be that way.

"It was dealt with by the FA, I would have to say very, very well.

"We certainly couldn't have had any complaints with the way that it was dealt with but it's something in the past.

"That will be one of many, many football incidents that are in the past that you have to be able to move on from and I would expect everybody to feel the same."

Brighton captain Bruno, who played alongside Cameroon international Bong in that match, echoed the sentiments of his manager.

"It's gone. We cannot stick with things like this," said the Spanish defender.

"Of course it was a big deal at that time but it's time to forget. That's done for him (Bong)."

Ahead of the weekend cup tie against the Sky Bet Championship side, Hughton will be recognised for his contribution to the football club with an honorary degree.

The 60-year-old, who in 2017 guided Albion to the top flight for the first time since 1983, is due to don a gown and mortarboard to receive the honour from the University of Sussex on Thursday afternoon.

"It's very humbling to myself. I think it's a mark of the efforts of a lot of people, this club has a very good standing in the area, it's a club that's made great progress over the years and I have an incredibly good staff around me," said Hughton.

"It's a huge honour for me, particularly having been here for four years. I've been made to feel very welcome, not only at the club but in the area as well.

"I've been around it (graduation ceremonies) before with my children and family members so I know what the ceremony is."

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