June 1, 2020

Sterling calls for stadium bans after racist abuse

March 26, 2019
England stick five past Montenegro, and their racist fans, with Raheem Sterling leading the rout

Raheem Sterling has suggested racist abuse should be punished by teams playing behind closed doors after chanting soured England’s 5-1 win in Montenegro.

England continued their Euro 2020 qualification campaign with another emphatic win – three days after scoring five without reply against Czech Republic – but the performance was marred by abuse directed at the visitors.

England manager Gareth Southgate said he heard Rose abused, while Sterling has called for stronger punishments for abuse, questioning what impact fines have.

Asked by Sky Sports News’ Rob Dorsett whether abuse should warrant stadium bans or teams playing behind closed doors, Sterling said: “Yep. Something serious for them, to make them think twice about doing it again.”

He earlier said: “It’s now time for the people that are in charge to put a real stamp on it because you can fine someone but what’s that going to do?

“You’ve got to make it harder – you’ve got to punish all the fans so they can’t come to the games, you’ve got to do something that’s really going to make them think twice. Because if their team can’t play with fans it’s going to be difficult for them and make them think twice about it.

“I can only, we can only, the FA can only do so much. We’ve got to leave this to the people in charge to make a proper stance on it. Just banning one or two people is not going to change anything, even to our fans I’d say the exact same thing.”

UEFA regulations state that if supporters engage in racist behaviour then “the member association or club responsible is punished with a minimum of a partial stadium closure”.

Article 14 also states that additional disciplinary measures can be imposed depending on the situation, while “disciplinary measures may be combined with specific directives aimed at tackling such conduct”.

Though Sterling said he had not heard the abuse personally, Southgate said he heard Tottenham defender Rose abused after a booking in the 93rd minute, while Callum Hudson-Odoi also insisted he heard monkey chants from the home fans.

Montenegro head coach, Ljubisa Tumbakovic remarkably claimed not to “hear or notice any” racist abuse.

Sterling celebrated his late goal by cupping his ears to the home fans, and says that was a message that it will take more than abuse to upset the players.

Sterling said: “To be honest with you, I didn’t hear it personally, but Danny made it clear that’s what they were doing. I just wanted to show them that you’re going to need more than that to upset us and stop us because what can I do?

“We know, all of us know what skin colour we are, so I don’t know what the big issue is, it’s not like you’re telling us anything new.

Disgraceful to hear racist chants directed at black @England players this evening. As we’ve argued countless times, it’s time for @UEFA to take strong, decisive action – fines won’t do.

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“It’s not just young black man, it’s young kids growing up in diverse cities. It’s not just black kids I want to reach out to. In England we’ve got a diverse country and it’s 2019 as I keep saying and there are a lot of different phases in our country and bringing awareness to let people know these are new times, it’s different.”

Hudson-Odoi, who made his first England start on Monday at just 18, also told Sky Sports: “In the first half, I was going over me and Danny and heard monkey chants, but that’s part of football, I’ve had it before in Dynamo Kiev too.

“Hopefully UEFA deal with it properly, and we have to keep going, keep a strong mentality, keep our heads – we can’t let ourselves get down because of the situation, and hopefully Rosey’s okay with that and we’ll have a chat about it.
“It’s unacceptable. I don’t think there should be discrimination no matter where you go, no matter what. It’s not right in football, at all.

“We should be all playing fair, have a good game and enjoy ourselves but to hear that it’s not right and hopefully UEFA deal with it properly.

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