'Not good enough': Raheem Sterling hits out at football chiefs for failing to combat racism
Manchester City's English forward Raheem Sterling, among the favorites to win this year's EPL Player of the Year award, has criticized the steps being taken to tackle the scourge of racism in football in an article for The Times.
Sterling wrote that the football's current problem with racist behavior from fans was "nowhere near being sorted," adding that the game's various governing bodies haven't acted definitively enough to punish those responsible as well as levying sanctions against their clubs.
The England international, whose 17 Premier League goals have been crucial to his side's title duel with Liverpool, has been targeted for racist abuse by supporters this season.Also on rt.com 'Silence the haters (I mean racists)': Sterling calls for sanctions as Montenegro charged with abuse
"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," Sterling wrote.
"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."Also on rt.com 'There were racist jeers. The blame's 50-50': Bonucci says Kean partially at fault for monkey chants
The topic of racism among football fans appears to be reaching critical mass, with more and more high-profile incidents being reported.
Napoli's Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly came close to walking off the pitch following racist chants in a Serie A match last December while, as Sterling mentions, Juventus' Moise Kean has become another target.
Sterling says that the only way to address the issue is to harshly punish those found to be responsible, a measure which he says must be implemented by those in charge of the game.
"[It] 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."
He suggests that disciplinary measures such as nine-point deductions and forcing teams to play matches behind closed doors could help combat the issue.Also on rt.com ‘Newspapers helping fuel racism in football’: Sterling speaks out after alleged abuse at Chelsea
"It sounds harsh, but which fan will risk racist behaviour if it might relegate their team or ruin their title bid?" he explained.
"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.
"I don't know how long it will take for things to change but we have to start now. I don't want the next generation of black players to have to put up with this evil."