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Nov 3, 2012

Hughton calls for lengthy racism bans

Norwich boss Chris Hughton believes players and officials found guilty of abusing others should miss "a big chunk of the season" in order drive racism out of football.

• Norwich blog: Upsetting the odds

Hughton called for strict, clear regulations to be created to enforce anti-racism measures in his interview with the Guardian newspaper on Saturday. When asked if a 10-match ban would help stop racism at stadiums, Hughton agreed.

"It's a big chunk of the season. It would make it clear," he told the Guardian.

"It's so intriguing to see some very articulate, very passionate and very intelligent players like [Reading striker] Jason [Roberts] voicing their opinions," Hughton continued. "I support Jason. I know the people at Kick It Out and Show Racism The Red Card very well, and they've done an outstanding job, but I applaud Jason for what he did [in not wearing the Kick It Out t-shirt].

"I never felt he was being critical of those organisations. Jason was saying that these issues have to be dealt with better, more efficiently and the outcomes have to be the correct ones. If there was a set ban for offences [of a racial nature] then it would be clear."

During his time as a player at Tottenham, Hughton says he encountered a great deal of racial abuse, but is pleased that times have changed and that there is more of a "critical spotlight" shone on such matters.

"When I signed for Spurs, I was the only black player in the team," Hughton said.

"When I played and got abused by another player, called a 'black so and so', I always said 'that's out of order' but I tried to ignore it. I'd be thinking: 'You're not going to bring me down to that level'. But there were occasions when something was said and the next tackle went in a lot firmer.

"Sometimes it could be a whole section of a crowd shouting something at me or just one individual saying something when I was getting the ball for a throw-in. I said things back. Ultimately, there wasn't too much you could do about it.

"I did feel lonely. When we played at certain stadiums and I was the one getting abuse - nobody else - of course I did feel isolated. I'm not saying this in a detrimental way to my team-mates but it was just something they were used to.

"Now we have day-on-day news items, on Sky Sports, about some racial incidents. A handful of incidents a year now might have been a handful a week back then. But there wasn't the critical spotlight. There wouldn't have been anything in the newspapers or on the television. People accepted it back then.

"It's a different era now. I remember speaking to one of the young players at Tottenham and he couldn't comprehend what it was like back then. He was in a very multicultural changing-room where there were real keen interests in music between white players and Afro-Caribbean players."

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