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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."