Kick It Out have unreservedly apologised to Albion for any suggestions that Chris Hughton’s sacking was race-related.

English football’s equality and inclusion organisation have issued a statement, recognising the Seagulls’ commitment to equal opportunities.

Hughton, one of two BAME managers in the Premier League, was sacked on Monday and is now being linked with the West Brom job.

The statement read: "Kick It Out have unreservedly apologised to Brighton & Hove Albion FC, its chairman Tony Bloom, and the club’s board of directors and staff for any inference in comments made in an interview in the Daily Telegraph by Troy Townsend, the organisation's Head of Development, that the club’s dismissal of Chris Hughton as its first team manager on Monday was in any way linked to his ethnicity - and also for the impact the comments have had on the club’s reputation and the reputation of its senior officials.

"Kick It Out and Troy Townsend fully accept that through its current employment of BAME coaches at senior levels, and the club’s long term engagement with, and support for Kick It Out’s various campaigns and events, Brighton & Hove Albion FC has fully demonstrated its commitment to eradicating discrimination of all types, and consistently provided opportunities for BAME coaches. Nobody at Kick It Out will make any further comment on this matter."

In the interview, Townsend said: “We are now at worse than square one. What people don't understand is the real difficulties for black managers getting through the bottle neck at the top of football. We are talking about measly numbers."

Hughton had been in charge at the Amex for four-and-a-half years while counterpart Hope Powell has just completed her first top-flight season at the helm of the club's women's team.