Raheem Sterling has urged people to join him in signing a new petition which outlines the key changes needed to tackle racism in football.
Along with writing a piece for The Times today where he described football’s racism problem as “deep” and “nowhere near being sorted”, Sterling has backed a new Manifesto from the newspaper outlining the need for more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in positions of power, harsher punishments for racist abuse, and actions from social media companies, the media and sponsors.
Writing in The Times, Sterling said: “When I was a boy growing up in London, going to school and playing football, I didn’t know what racist abuse was because I never suffered any.
“So it seems crazy that, in 2019, I feel the need to write a piece in a newspaper calling for radical changes to the game that I love. But I do because the racism problem in football is so bad, runs so deep and is nowhere near being sorted.
“You will all have read about the various high-profile racist incidents in recent months: the abuse I received playing for Manchester City away to Chelsea; the booing that the black England players were subjected to in Montenegro; the nastiness that Moise Kean of Juventus endured in Italy and the endless insults thrown at players on social media.
“But that is sadly just the tip of the iceberg. Up and down the game, across the world, black and Asian players, fans and coaches are subjected to racism. Every day, from park football to the Champions League. In my opinion, the people who run the game are doing nowhere near enough to solve the problem. And that’s not good enough.”
Sterling would like the percentage of BAME coaches and administrators that accurately reflects the number of players in the game, while he feels punishment for racist abuse should be an automatic nine-point deduction for clubs and three games behind closed doors rather than the current starting point of a fine.
He said: “It sounds harsh, but which fan will risk racist behaviour if it might relegate their team or ruin their title bid? Small fines do no damage to clubs and countries, but one group of people who do have the money to make them take notice are sponsors. The next time that a club or governing body fails to act appropriately against racism, I would love to see that company pull its money out and make a moral stand.”
The new Manifesto has already received widespread support, with current players such as Wilfried Zaha, Vincent Kompany and Trent Alexander-Arnold through to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Juventus Women’s player Eni Aluko and former Dutch international Ruud Gullit all signing.
We’ve joined @sterling7, @EniAlu, @YayaToure, @farenet, @bcomstweet, @mimsdavies, @SadiqKhan and many more, in backing the new @TimesSport manifesto calling for a fundamental change in how football’s authorities tackle racism and discrimination. https://t.co/YtbuZXxnPj
— Kick It Out (@kickitout) April 23, 2019
Sterling recently called outt Leonardo Bonucci and came out in support for Moise Kean, who suffered racist abuse while playing for Juventus.