Sterling: “It’s not just taking the knee, it is about giving people the chance they deserve”
Last Updated: 08/06/20 11:39pm
Raheem Sterling has called for English football to address the lack of black representation in positions of power.
The Manchester City and England forward made the comments during an appearance on the BBC programme Newsnight, in the wake of anti-racism protests across the world.
Advance clips had shown the 25-year-old offering his support to those who have taken to the streets in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody in Minneapolis last month.
But in the full interview, Sterling discussed matters closer to home, lamenting the disparity between the number of high-profile BAME players and the shortage of those who then go on to land significant managerial, coaching or administrative jobs.
Sterling said: “This is a time to speak on these subjects, speak on injustice, especially in my field.
“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 staffs.
“There’s not a lot of faces that we can relate to and have conversations with.
“With these protests that are going on it’s all well and good just talking, but it’s time that we need to have conversations, to be able to spark debates.
“But at the same time, it’s coming together and finding a solution to be able to spark change, because we can talk as much as we want about changing and putting people, black people, in these positions that I do feel they should be in.
“I’ll give a perfect one. There’s [Rangers manager] Steven Gerrard, your [Chelsea manager] Frank Lampards, you have your Sol Campbells and you have 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.
“I feel like that’s what’s lacking here.
“It’s not just taking the knee [the movement started by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick], it is about giving people the chance they deserve.”
Sterling also suggested a more diverse mix is needed in the corridors of power.
Asked what would represent success for the change movement, he said: “When I can have someone from a black background, for me to go to in the FA with a problem I have within the club.
“These will be the times that I know that change is happening.”