Raheem Sterling wants FA and Premier League talks over racism

22 May 2019, 06:47 | Updated: 22 May 2019, 17:06

Raheem Sterling intends to talk with the Football Association and the Premier League this summer about combating racism.

The Manchester City and England player has led the fight off the pitch to tackle racism in football this season and called out incidents of racial abuse against him and fellow professionals.

Sterling criticised the media's coverage of black players in December, saying newspapers were helping to 'fuel racism', and the 24-year-old spoke in further depth on the issue as part of a wide-ranging interview and Q&A; at Wall Street Journal's 'Future of Everything' festival on Tuesday.

"With football, you can get caught up in training every day and games every two to 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, holidays if I can get to speak to the FA and people in the Premier League and see how we can look about doing things better in the future for sure I will be there in person to try and do that."

'English culture partly to blame'

Sterling condemned the racist abuse directed at England team-mates Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi during their European Qualifier victory in Montenegro and has reiterated his desire for tougher punishments to be given when fans are guilty of racism towards players.

"There need to be stricter punishments," Sterling said. "If I go to a football game and I support Manchester United, for example, I do not want to be the person that lets my team down by saying silly remarks in the stadium.

"If your team is going to be deducted nine points from them winning the league you are not going to say these racist remarks.

"Fining someone or fining a club £5,000 or fining a fan £300 doesn't do anything."

He added: "It is 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 there. But it is getting a lot better than it used to be."

The FA welcomed Sterling's "thoughtful comments" regarding the fight against racism and said England officials hold regular dialogue with the player.

FA chairman Greg Clarke is also in discussions with UEFA at the highest levels about this issue - including getting more support for referees to take action on any discrimination, Sky Sports News has been told.

In a statement, an FA spokesperson said: "Our work in this important area is ongoing. We know there is more to be done and are committed to this in partnership with others across the game.

"With the UEFA Nations League approaching in early June, we look forward to picking up more formally with Raheem once his England commitments are over for the season."

The Premier League's response

"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.

"Together, we are also committed to improving pathways to encourage more people from different backgrounds to take up coaching, refereeing and administrative roles in the sport.

''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.''

'My levels can't relent at City'

Sterling has enjoyed a career-best season under Pep Guardiola at City, scoring 25 goals across all competitions, as he played an integral part in the club winning an unprecedented domestic treble.

The winger has also starred for Gareth Southgate's England and is expected to play a key role at the Nations League Finals in Portugal next month and is adamant he has to keep on improving if he is to win further silverware.

"This is our job, this is what we love doing. Every year we know we are going to have competition," Sterling said.

"New players will come in, players that will go and it is just about trying to keep that hunger as a squad. I think in our squad we have got that in abundance.

"Every day that we go in, everyone is keeping each other on their toes. For me I have got four players in my position. I can't go to sleep anytime soon, I have always got to be ready and keep fighting for my position."

'Full confidence in City over FFP case'

City have faced accusations of financial irregularities with the club referred to the Club Financial Control Body adjudicatory chamber following a UEFA investigation.

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The club, who are alleged to have misled UEFA and broken FFP rules, have denied any wrongdoing and Sterling says he has "full faith" the club will be cleared of the allegations.

"It is way above my pay grade. I don't have a [clue] about that," he said.

"It is something you hear in the background, you hear people always talking.

"But I have got full confidence in the club that they have done everything on their part and to the upmost of their ability that they are not going to do anything that is going to put us in jeopardy and be able to compete on all fronts in the Champions League.

"I have full faith with the club with that."

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