Raheem Sterling wants competition bans for racism

Yahoo Sport UK

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has backed points deductions and competition bans for clubs found guilty of racist behaviour.

Talking at the Wall Street Journal's Future of Everything Festival in New York on Tuesday, the 24-year-old said that “harder punishments” is the only way racism will be taken seriously.

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Sterling has spoken openly about racism in football on many occasions and was a victim of alleged abuse earlier this season - from Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge and then from Montenegro supporters during a Euro 2020 qualifier in March.

Montenegro were fined €20,000 and were forced to play their next home match behind closed doors, but Sterling doesn’t think punishments like these are enough.

He explained: "Teams getting points deductions, getting kicked out... this is when people start taking it seriously.

"After the situation at Chelsea they came to me with an idea, but I did not agree with it.

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"It was a social media blackout. I said I simply don't agree with what you want to put out - it is a social media post that will happen for one day. In two days' time it will all be forgotten about.

"A few times they get us to wear a T-shirt, but again it is not enough. There needs to be harder punishments."

The London born attacker feels that fans will think twice before subjecting a player to racist abuse, if it affects their teams chances in a competition on the field.

Sterling added: "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, you are not going to say these racist remarks even though you shouldn't have it in your head."

Sterling received abuse from Montenegro fans in their match with England. (Credit: Getty Images)
Sterling received abuse from Montenegro fans in their match with England. (Credit: Getty Images)

The England star has put some of the racist incidents down to the culture of drinking at football matches. But he believes there are currently fewer incidents of racism than there were 10 years ago.

Sterling continued: “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.

"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.”

During the off-season, Sterling is keen to speak to the football authorities to find a solution, something he admits is harder to do during the nine-month football campaign.

"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,” he added.

"But in my off time and holidays if I can get around and speak to the Football Association 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."

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