London, United Kingdom | AFP | The Premier League has welcomed Raheem Sterling’s offer to help in the fight against racism after the Manchester City star called on the sport’s authorities to do more to tackle the problem.
Sterling told the Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival in New York this week that football’s current attempts to stamp out racism are not effective enough.
The 24-year-old wants the introduction of stronger punishments when incidents occur, suggesting clubs whose fans are guilty of racism should be hit with points deductions.
Sterling, who has emerged as a key voice in the campaign against racism, is keen to speak to the Football Association and Premier League to discuss his ideas.
Premier League chiefs have responded by confirming they are ready to talk to the England winger and any other players with thoughts on the issue.
“The Premier League and our clubs agree that while good work has been undertaken, more needs to be done to promote inclusion and diversity across football and to ensure BAME fans and players are supported,” a Premier League statement said on Thursday.
“Raheem took part in our No Room for Racism campaign and we would welcome the opportunity to talk to him, and other players, about discrimination in football.
“Developing our work in this area is a priority for the Premier League.”
Sterling and several of his England team-mates endured racist chanting during a Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro in March.
He was also allegedly abused by Chelsea fans in December and, speaking at the event, he said strong punishments are needed in order for the campaign to have a real impact.
“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.”