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Watford support youth coach David Hughes' decision to pull players from the pitch after alleged racist incident
1:00pm Friday 20th December 2013 in Sport
Hornets' youth-team coach David Hughes has the club’s full support after he decided to remove his players from the pitch during a game in Italy after an alleged racist comments.
The Golden Boys have so far refused to comment publicly on the matter but the Watford Observer understands Hughes has the club’s complete backing.
We understand the Hornets are working closely with the English FA as they request a full explanation from the Italian FA and organisers of the Wojtyla Cup, where the incident occured.
Hughes told his Under-19 players to leave the field 15 minutes into the second half against Serie B club Latina after alleged persistent comments by opposition players.
Racism charity Kick It Out are also looking into the incident.
Watford’s record goalscorer Luther Blissett, who spent time in Italy playing for AC Milan during the 1980s, praised Hughes’ decision.
He said: “It’s sad these things are still going on but it was absolutely right to take the team off.
“It’s good to know that somebody has done something about it rather than just accept it.
“The FA should investigate and if it’s been established that there was abuse, they should hand over to UEFA to dish out punishments.
“Don’t leave it to match officials to handle these things – once clubs know that they’re being watched from much higher up, people will start behaving.
“I think the Italians have cleaned up their act to an extent, but they’re still a long way behind this country.
“In terms of how they’ve treated black players, when I went to Italy in 1983, they were back where this country was when I started playing in 1975.
“But I’ve had some horrendous times in England.
“I was playing alongside John Barnes in a League Cup match at Leeds in the eighties when the crowd gave us a really bad time.
“At one point, the ball had gone behind and when I went to pick it up the crowd behind the goal, they started the Sieg Heil salute. They did it to a man.
“We answered it in the best possible way by winning 4-0.
“You couldn’t have taken a team off the field in those days – there would have been uproar but it’s the right thing to do now and I’m glad to see it’s happening.”
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