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."