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Kick It Out apologises to Brighton over Hughton comments

SACKED: Chris Hughton was fired by Brighton on Monday

KICK IT OUT has issued an apology to Brighton & Hove Albion following comments made by Troy Townsend about Brighton’s decision to fire Chris Hughton.

Hughton was fired from Brighton on Monday after the club finished in 17th place in the Premier League.

The 60-year-old managed the club for four-and-a-half years, keeping them in the Premier League and getting them to an FA Cup semi final.

The news has been criticised by fans of the club, football as a whole and equality campaigners.

Townsend, Kick It Out's education manager, told The Telegraph: "We are now at worse than square one.

"What people don't understand is the real difficulties for black managers getting through the bottleneck at the top of football. We are talking about measly numbers."

Townsend added: "If a player had left at this stage, walked out on the club, people would be in uproar.

"It's so shabby. What are the expectations of Brighton? Surely it is to stay in the league. You are 4th from bottom and you have got to an FA Cup semi-final. I don't get it.”

In a statement released today, Kick It Out said: "Kick It Out have unreservedly apologised to Brighton & Hove Albion FC, its chairman Tony Bloom, and the club’s board of directors and staff for any inference in comments made in an interview in the Daily Telegraph by Troy Townsend, the organisation's Head of Development, that the club’s dismissal of Chris Hughton as its first team manager on Monday was in any way linked to his ethnicity - and also for the impact the comments have had on the club’s reputation and the reputation of its senior officials.

"Kick It Out and Troy Townsend fully accept that through its current employment of BAME coaches at senior levels, and the club’s long term engagement with, and support for Kick It Out’s various campaigns and events, Brighton & Hove Albion FC has fully demonstrated its commitment to eradicating discrimination of all types, and consistently provided opportunities for BAME coaches. Nobody at Kick It Out will make any further comment on this matter."

Darren Moore has said that Hughton’s firing had nothing to do with race.

The former West Brom manager, who was sacked from the club earlier this season, has told Talk Sport that there were not any racial connotations behind the decision to let Hughton go.

“If you’re looking at myself and Chris, we’re still the same people as when we were offered the jobs, still the same people who these clubs gave the opportunity to manage,” Moore told Talk Sport.

“People may allude towards that [the apparently racial undertones] and I can’t change the mind set of people, all I can do is just speak on behalf of myself and when I got the job I was the same person as I am now.”

Moore also said race did not play a role in West Brom’s decision to sack him back in March and that he was optimistic about his and Hughton’s futures in the sport.

He told Talk Sport: “It was based on footballing matters and we move forward.

“We were installed in the jobs in the first place and I’d like to think that we’ll get opportunity to carry on being managers elsewhere. We’re both young managers in the game with bright and fresh ideas. We want to bring that somewhere else and have the opportunity at another club to get back into the competitive game, the game we both love and serve so well.”

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