Racist abuse of England players in Montenegro not a surprise, says Chris Hughton
By Benjamin Lang
Last Updated: 27/03/19 1:18pm
Chris Hughton was not surprised England players were subjected to racist chanting during their 5-1 victory over Montenegro on Monday night.
Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi were among those who received racist abuse during the European Qualifier in Podgorica.
England manager Gareth Southgate reported that he heard Rose abused following his 93rd-minute booking, while Hudson-Odoi says he heard monkey chants from the home fans.
UEFA has responded by charging Montenegro with racist behaviour, while the Football Association described the incidents as 'abhorrent'.
Hughton, who is one of the few BAME coaches in high-profile football management jobs, said he was not shocked by the abuse but asserted that the authorities must now impose strict punishments to prevent similar occurrences.
"The abuse that the players got wasn't a surprise," Hughton said in The Argus. "It has happened before.
"I think people were talking about the possibility of it, even before the game.
"The surprise you want now is for the correct authorities to clamp down on it properly, not give out easy fines."
UEFA regulations state that when supporters engage in racist behaviour, "the member association or club responsible is punished with a minimum or a partial stadium closure",
However, the Brighton boss suggested a full stadium ban as a stronger sanction, that would force perpetrators to think twice before committing an offence.
"The only way you can really punish the perpetrators for me are by very heavy fines or make them play in empty stadiums," Hughton said.
"It has to be something that is a deterrent - and that hasn't been happening."
UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings with Montenegro over a total of five match incidents and the case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary on May 16.