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India coach Houghton resigns

India coach Bob Houghton has resigned despite having allegations of racism against him dropped, the country's soccer federation have confirmed.

Houghton, who took the job in 2006 and still had two years to run on his contract, described a report that claimed he made a racist remark to a match official during a friendly with Yemen last year as "nonsensical".

Despite conducting an investigation, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said they could not find any evidence against the 63-year-old and decided to withdraw all charges against him.

"The AIFF feels that in the absence of any definitive and concrete evidence the allegations against Mr Houghton cannot be sustained and therefore the AIFF agrees to withdraw all charges and allegations made against him," an AIFF statement said.

"However, Mr Houghton, for his personal reasons, does not wish to continue working in India and in his position as the head coach of the Indian football team."

The country's captain, Baichung Bhutia, told the Times of India he was sad to see Houghton go. "Bob has achieved so much for Indian football, three international titles and qualification in the Asian Cup after a gap of 27 years.

"Personally, he is the best coach I had played under. It is very sad he is going and whoever is going to fill in his shoes it will be very difficult for him," Bhaichung said.

"But it is up to the AIFF to choose a coach. If the AIFF thinks another person can do a better job than Bob it is up to them as national federation.

"For me there is no controversy. The players had expressed what they wanted to the AIFF president that the charges (against Houghton) were not true. That we did from our side. It is upto the AIFF to decide on it."

Baichung wouldn't be drawn on his preference for Houghton's replacement. "It is not our job to say who would be the next coach. It is the federation's job to decide whether the new coach would be a foreigner or not. We can't be involved in that."

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