Thu, May 23, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Sterling hoping to meet FA, league about racism

Reuters, NEW YORK

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, who is leading the fight against racism in soccer, on Tuesday said that he hoped to talk to officials at England’s Football Association (FA) and the Premier League about combating the menace.

Sterling told a conference in New York that the hectic nature of a soccer player’s schedule was the only thing that had kept him from meeting with them already.

“In football, 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,” Sterling said in a moderated discussion at the Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything conference.

“But for sure, on my off time and holidays if I can get around and speak to the FA 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,” he said.

Sterling, last month named Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association, scored two goals on Saturday last week as City crushed Watford 6-0 to become the first team to win the English domestic treble of league championship and both domestic cups.

He reiterated his hope to see clubs slapped with automatic nine-point deductions if their supporters indulged in racist behavior.

“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,” Sterling said.

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

Last season, Sterling accused sections of the British media of fueling racism with negative portrayals of young black players.

Sterling also encountered racist abuse during England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro in March, while there have been many other cases in European soccer in the past few months.

Despite that, Sterling felt there had been some encouraging signs with regard to fan behavior.

“Ten years ago it was a lot, lot worse than it is now. It’s starting to get better and people are understanding that they can’t say certain things,” he said.

“But I think it’s partly English culture on a Saturday to go out early and get ready for the game and start drinking. So a lot of these people are kind of drunk by the time they get [to the stadium], but it’s getting lot better than it used to be,” he added.

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