Houghton hits back, says allegations "nonsensical"

New Delhi, Feb 26 (PTI) A bitter Indian football coachBob Houghton today hit back at AIFF for its decision toinitiate steps to sack him, saying that the charges levelledagainst him by the national federation were "nonsensical".

The AIFF has decided to take legal advice to see ifHoughton''s contract, which runs till 2013, can be terminatedwithout giving compensation to him on the ground that theEnglishman had used "derogatory" remarks against thefederation.

Reports have said that the AIFF could take into accountHoughton''s alleged "racial" remarks against Indian refereeDinesh Nair during the international friendly against Yemen inPune last year to charge him of bringing disrepute to theAIFF.

Houghton today issued a statement through his managerSimon, saying that the Englishman has not uttered any singleword which could be construed as racial.

"Further to reports in the media that I made a racistremark to a fourth official last year, I wish to categoricallydeny that allegation," Houghton said in the statement.

"I have no doubt that all the players and staff that Ihave worked with in India would confirm that I do not have aracist bone in my body and have treated all of them with theutmost respect.

"The only exception would be Pradeep Choudery (formerteam manager), who walked out of his position as National Teammanager just prior to the Asian Cup after an argument with me.

I refer those who would wish to see a reflection of this man''sstanding among the Indian Team members to the FPAI websitedirectly after his walk out," he said.

He also accused Chowdhury, who was present during theincident in Pune, for changing his version of the event. Nairhad made a complaint to the AIFF that Houghton had made racialremarks against him.

"Furthermore, remarks made by former team managerPradeep Choudery are the exact opposite of his comments madeat a dinner directly after the match, where in front of mystaff he called the official in question ''a bad man'' andinsisted I had said no such thing.

"My staff are prepared to confirm Choudery''s commentswhen and if required," he said.

Houghton also said that his comments in the media aboutthe lack of infrastructure in India was not a new thing and hehad not done anything wrong.

"Regarding the other allegation regarding my criticism ofthe AIFF during the Asian Cup, my comments were limited onlyto facilities for football in India. They reflect exactly thecomments made by Asian Football Confederation PresidentMohammed Bin Hamman on a visit to India during my time as headcoach, when he described India as ''100 years behind'' otherAsian countries.

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