India’s football coach Houghton denies racism charges

Saturday, February 26, 2011

NEW DELHI - India’s chief football coach Bob Houghton Saturday rubbished reports that he racially abused an Indian referee during an international friendly, even as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) gears up to sack the Englishman following the national team’s disastrous performance in the Asian Cup.

Houghton, who was appointed in 2006, said in a statement: “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.

“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 AIFF is now planning to use the report against Houghton, who reportedly draws a salary of $30,000 and has a contract that runs till 2013. Houghton allegedly made racial remarks against Indian referee Dinesh Nair during an international friendly against Yemen in Pune last year.

Till recently, the report was gathering dust, but the AIFF decided to use it against Houghton after he publicly criticised the AIFF during the Asian Cup in Doha.

The AIFF has sought legal opinion to terminate the Englishman’s contract and is using his disaparaging remarks against it during the Asian Cup to see if it can get rid of him.

Houghton had said that the federation let the national players down in a big way by not providing them proper infrastructure.

Reacting strongly to AIFF’s decision, Houghton said: “Regarding the allegation regarding my criticism of the AIFF during the Asian Cup, my comments were limited only to facilities for football in India. 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.”

Filed under: Football

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