Raheem Sterling has joined the fight against racism as he points out that “change will only come in football when more black players become managers. Millions of people have identified with the anti-racism protest in the UK which started after George Floyd’s death on 25 May in Minneapolis.
“The protest is a great starting point, to make your voice be heard. But just protesting alone is not going to make a change in this country,” the England and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling said.
Raheem Sterling said while speaking to BBC’s Newsnight program: “It’s how we move on from here. It’s about highlighting things, the society that needs changing, and then acting upon it. We’ve done a lot of talking, and it’s time now to act.”
The Man City star said there needs to be greater black, Asian and minority ethnic representation among administrators and coaching staff in British football, and that equal opportunity should be available for former BAME players.
Illustrating his point, he compared four former England internationals making their way in management: Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Rangers’ Steven Gerrard, both white, and Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole, both black.
Sterling emphasized that Campbell’s two management jobs to date have been in lower-league football, at Macclesfield and Southend, while Cole started coaching Chelsea’s Under-15s after ending his playing career last year.
“The coaching staff that you see around football clubs: there’s Steven Gerrard, your Frank Lampards, your Sol Campbells and your Ashley Coles. All had great careers, all played for England.
“At the same time, they’ve all respectfully done their coaching badges to coach at the highest level and the two that haven’t been given the right opportunities are the two black former players.
“The change is being able to speak to people in Parliament, people at the hierarchy at my football club, football clubs across the country, people at the national team of England, to implement change and give equal chances to not just black coaches but also different ethnicities.
“Give black coaches, not just coaches but people in their respective fields, the right opportunity. I feel like that’s what’s lacking here, it’s not just taking the knee, it is about giving people the chance they deserve.
“There’s something like 500 players in the Premier League and a third of them are black and we have no representation of us in the hierarchy, no representation of us in the coaching staff. There’s not a lot of faces that we can relate to and have conversations with.”
“When there’s someone from a black background I can go to in the FA with a problem I have within the club, that will be when I know change is happening and not just in my field, also in Parliament. Once we do see those numbers shifting, that’s when I’ll be happy and the people will be happy,” Raheem Sterling pointed.