• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Sterling calls for stiffer punishments to combat racism

Raheem Sterling

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling says boycotting social media and wearing T-shirts is not enough to combat racism and there must be harder punishments.

Sterling, 24, was speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival in New York – few days after winning the FA Cup to complete a historic domestic treble.

“Teams getting points deductions, getting kicked out… this is when people start taking it seriously,” said Sterling.

The England striker, who scored 25 goals in all competitions this season, has been praised for his readiness to speak out on the issue.

After Chelsea fans racially abused him in December 2018, Sterling used Instagram to criticise the media for the way they report on black players.

Asked if football bosses in England had approached him after he spoke out, Sterling said: “After the situation at Chelsea they came to me with an idea, but I did not agree with it.

“It was a social media blackout. I said I simply don’t agree with what you want to put out – it is a social media post that will happen for one day. In two days’ time it will all be forgotten about.”

In April, the Professional Footballers’ Association launched the #Enough campaign, with footballers in England and Wales boycotting social media for 24 hours to protest against the way social networks and football authorities respond to racism.

Montenegro were ordered by Uefa to play their next home match behind closed doors for the racist abuse of England player and fined 20,000 euros (£17,253) for other offences.

England and Tottenham defender Danny Rose has criticised punishments for racism, saying the fines are the same as what he spends on a night out.

Sterling continued: “If I go to a football game and I support Manchester United, for example, I don’t want to be the person that lets my team down by saying silly remarks in a stadium.

“If you know your team is going to get deducted nine points, you are not going to say these racist remarks even though you shouldn’t have it in your head.”

Sterling said he hoped to have further discussions with football bosses about tackling racism.

“You can get caught up with training every day, and games every two, three days, so you don’t really have a lot of time to be out and speaking to people,” he said.

“But in my off time and holidays if I can get around and speak to the Football Association and the people in the Premier League and see how we can go about doing things better in the future, for sure I’ll be there in person to try and do that.”

It is understood England manager Gareth Southgate and England staff are in a regular dialogue with Sterling.

FA chairman Greg Clarke is in discussions with Uefa, including getting more support for referees to take action on discrimination.

“We welcome Raheem’s thoughtful comments regarding the fight against racism and our work in this important area is ongoing,” said an FA spokesperson.

“We know there is more to be done and are committed to this in partnership with others across the game.

“We look forward to picking up more formally with Raheem once his England commitments are over for the season.”

In a statement the Premier League said: “While good work has been undertaken, more needs to be done to promote inclusion and diversity across football and to ensure BAME fans and players are supported.

“Together, we are also committed to improving pathways to encourage more people from different backgrounds to take up coaching, refereeing and administrative roles in the sport.

”Raheem took part in our No Room for Racism campaign and we would welcome the opportunity to talk to him, and other players, about discrimination in football.

“Developing our work in this area is a priority for the Premier League.”

 

Source: BBC