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We have a chance to make change – Sterling calls for more to be done to combat racism

24 April 2019 01:03

Manchester City star Raheem Sterling believes far more can still be done to put an end to racism in football.

The England international has repeatedly spoken out about the issue following a rise in incidents of racial abuse throughout the sport.

Sterling has already called for harsher punishments to be handed out for clubs whose fans are found guilty of targeting players because of the colour of their skin, insisting the current sanctions in place are not enough to stop some people.

But the 24-year-old only expects things to change should the relevant equality and inclusion organisations, such as Kick It Out, receive sufficient backing.

"It's not any disrespect to Kick It Out but the campaigns, with the t-shirts and stuff, I feel it shows people what you're trying to say but what is actually being put in place? We need to help people like Kick It Out push it a bit more," he told Sky Sports.

"The other day the Premier League suggested to post this blackout thing. Again, it was just like 'Ok, it goes on social media. Then people see it. But what does that do? What does that actually do? What is the outcome of that?'

"Is it a campaign for three days and it blows over or are we going to do something that says, 'this is what we're doing and from now on. This is how it's going to go'.

"That's what we, every player who has been in this situation, would like. I don't think these social media posts, these t-shirts are doing anything. It's not going to change anything.

"It needs to be at first within football - because that's where I am and I can't say about in everyday walks of life - to help people in our environment. And for people that have been suffering these things to have something that they know when they go on the football field that no one will dare to even chat one word at them. That's what I'm aiming for."

Sterling, who has enjoyed another incredible campaign on the pitch with 17 Premier League goals and nine assists, hopes the next generation of footballers can avoid the same type of abuse received by himself and his team-mates.

"No one really says anything. No one expresses their feelings, and I think that's wrong," he said. "But, at the same time, no one really wants any backlash or if any of it went wrong. 

"But when I wanted to say something it was purely just to get people on the outside to understand what it's really like for some of these players. I probably had it lightly because I haven't had that many experiences growing up. It was more, as I keep explaining, when I came up north.

"But speaking to players like Fabian [Delph], growing up in Leeds, Bradford, and then telling me about some of their experiences, it's crazy to know some of this stuff happens here to 15, 16-year-old kids.

"We have an opportunity and a chance to make something that's not just now but that, in 10 years' time, players know when they get on a football field that stuff like that can't happen. That's what we need to put in place. Something that makes people think more than twice."

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