Former PFA chairman and ex-Watford defender Clarke Carlisle has thrown his full support behind Hornets youth team coach Dave Hughes, who withdrew his players from the field following an alleged racist incident in Italy last month.

Watford were playing against Serie B team Latina in the Wojtyla Cup and during the game persistent racist comments were said to have been made by opposition players.

Hughes told his Under-19 players to leave the field 15 minutes into the second half and Carlisle is in no doubt that the Hornets' coach made the correct decision.

"I think it was outstanding and it shows that this will not be tolerated," Carlisle told Sky Sports.

"That's exactly what should happen if the issue is not being dealt with by the authorities or the people in charge.

"I've said this about all the tournaments - when we were talking about Poland and the Ukraine and the potential for x, y and z - that you place your faith in the officials.

"If the referee and the officials on the side do their job then the players will be escorted off the pitch and you can have some faith in the processes that should be followed.

"But if they're not being followed and the officials do not feel empowered enough to be able to do that then I think that managers and players are right to leave the field of play."

We understand Hughes has the backing of Watford and that 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.

Carlisle admits it is "horrible" to see such incidents occuring in younger age groups of the game and believes any punishment handed out should be worse as a result.

"It's more disheartening and upsetting when it is the younger element because these are really impressionable minds, who probably won't have an understanding of why they are being subjected to this type of abuse," he said.

"It is horrible and I hope that if there are any sanctions imposed the fact that effectively it is an offence against a minor will be taken into account as exacerbating."

Watford legend Luther Blissett has also backed Hughes' actions, saying it was "absolutely right to take the team off."