Houghton: I am not a racist
Indian football coach Bob Houghton has vehemently denied accusations of racism, claiming that he 'does not have a racist bone in his body.'
Houghton is being investigated by All India Football Federation (AIFF) over claims that he allegedly directed a racist remark towards Dinesh Nair, who was the fourth official in the India v Yemen match back in October 2010. Nair has submitted a written complaint, but Houghton has stated that he is innocent of all allegations.
"Further to reports in the media that I made a racist remark to a fourth official last year, I wish to categorically deny that allegation,'' he said in a statement.
"Furthermore, remarks made by former team manager Pradeep Chowdhary, are the exact opposite of his comments made at a dinner directly after the match, wherein front of my staff he called the official in question (Dinesh Nair) " a bad man" and insisted I had said no such thing. My staff are prepared to confirm Chowdhary's comments when and if required.
"I would also like to point out that I have worked in international football at the highest level for 30 years before my arrival in India in 2006, having worked in Africa, China, the United States, Uzbekistan, the Middle East and in many European countries and staffed coaching courses for the AFC throughout Asia without any such nonsensical allegations being made.
"I have no doubt that ALL the players and staff that I have worked with in India would confirm that I do not have a racist bone in my body and have treated all of them with the utmost respect. The only exception would be Pradeep Chowdhary, who walked out of his position as National Team manager just prior to the Asian Cup 2011 after an argument with me. I refer those who would wish to see a reflection of this man's standing among the Indian Team members to the FPAI (Football Players Association of India)website directly after his walkout.''
Houghton also faces accusation that he criticised AIFF during the Asian Cup competition. However, he moved to clarify his comments.
"Regarding the other allegations regarding my criticism of the AIFF during the Asian Cup, my comments were limited only to facilities for football in India,'' he stated. ''They reflect exactly the comments made by Asian Football Confederation President Mohammed Bin Hammam on a visit to India during my time as head coach, when he described India as"100 years behind"other Asian countries.
"Finally, I look forward to taking a young and experimental Indian Team to the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers next month and then returning to our senior National Team players for the World Cup 2014 Qualifiers in June this year.''