Sterling keen to speak to authorities over ‘harder punishments’ for racism

Raheem Sterling would be keen to speak to the Football Association and the Premier League over the summer to work out the next steps in the ongoing efforts to combat racism.

The England and Manchester City forward has said social media boycotts and gestures such as wearing t-shirts during warm-ups are “not enough” and has called for “harder punishments” such as nine-point deductions for racist incidents.

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival in New York, Sterling said with City’s domestic treble-winning season now over he would be keen to discuss ways the campaign can be developed.

“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 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 look about doing things better in the future, for sure I’ll be there in person to try and do that.”

The 24-year-old has emerged as a key voice in the campaign against racism for his readiness to speak out on the issue.

After he was allegedly racially abused by spectators at Chelsea in December, Sterling used Instagram to criticise the media for the way they report on black players.

View this post on Instagram

Good morning I just want to say , I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to heard I will speak up. Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better. For example you have two young players starting out there careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing. Which is buy a new house for there mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the news papers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white payer. I think this in unacceptable both innocent have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded. This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an aggressive behaviour, so for all the news papers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all i have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an give all players an equal chance.

A post shared by Raheem Sterling x 😇 (@sterling7) on

He said he was then contacted by football authorities with ideas about the campaign but did not agree with their approach.

“After the situation at Chelsea they came to me with an idea but I did not agree with the idea,” he said.

“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’s going to happen for one day. In two days’ time it will all be forgotten about.”

In April, the Professional Footballers’ Association launched the #Enough campaign, which saw footballers in England and Wales boycott social media for 24 hours to protest the way the social networks have handled cases of online abuse.

But Sterling has said he wants to see stronger punishments those on the receiving end would not be able to ignore.

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

“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 and not win the league, you are not going to say these racist remarks even though you shouldn’t have it in your head.

“Fining a club £5000 or a fan £300 doesn’t do anything.”

Although this season has seen a number of incidents in England and abroad, Sterling believes the situation has improved in the last decade.

“Ten years ago it was a lot, lot worse than it is now,” said Sterling, who was named PFA Young Players of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Football of the Year at the end of a campaign in which he scored 25 goals for City.

“It’s starting to get better and people are understanding that they can’t say certain things.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Smart choice is to watch women’s football

Stephen Henderson resigns as Cobh manager after home win

Real Madrid fans chant ‘we want Mbappe’ at Hazard unveiling

On the record: Maradona's life laid bare in new documentary

More in this Section

US Open day three: Woodland holds narrow lead over Rose

Tyson Fury eases to victory over Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas

In Pictures: Tyson Fury v Tom Schwarz

Three Dublin strikes knock Galway out of the Championship


Lifestyle

There’s no fallback on Everest, so what drives climbers to the challenge?

Want to make the most of an urban garden space? Here are seven ideas

More From The Irish Examiner