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Sterling calls for nine-point deductions for clubs whose fans are guilty of racism

10:55 BST 23/04/2019
Raheem Sterling England 2019
The Manchester City star has urged governing bodies to do more to combat the issue and feels there should be stricter sanctions imposed

Raheem Sterling has suggested that clubs whose fans are involved in racist abuse of players should suffer an automatic nine-point deduction.

The Manchester City winger, nominated for PFA Player and Young Player of the Year, has been at the forefront of the battle against the recent rise in incidents of racial abuse throughout football.

While he has said he is against players walking off the pitch, the 24-year-old has outlined what he believes governing bodies should do to curb racism in the game.

"I would call for an automatic nine-point deduction for racist abuse. It sounds harsh, but which fan will risk racist behaviour if it might relegate their team or ruin their title bid," the England international wrote in The Times.

"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 this evil."

Sterling also expressed his surprise at suffering racial abuse and what he perceived as the failures of the sport’s governing bodies to address the problem of racism "across the world".

He added: “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.

"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 of 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.

"But that 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."

Sterling and England team-mate Danny Rose were subjected to alleged racist abuse by Montenegro fans during an international fixture in March, while there have been several other cases in top-level football in Europe during the 2018-19 campaign.

The City star and a number of other Premier League footballers also took part in the '#Enough' campaign that saw them cease activity on their social media accounts for 24 hours in an attempt to make a stand against racist abuse.