Montenegro should face stadium ban for racist abuse, says Sterling
Raheem Sterling has called for Montenegro to be hit with a stadium ban after England players were subjected to racist abuse on Monday night.
The Three Lions won 5-1 in Podgorica’s Gradski Stadion to continue their fine start to Euro 2020 qualification.
Sterling scored the last of the five goals and celebrated by pulling his ears out in front of the home fans, with a missile thrown from the stands in response.
— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) March 25, 2019
There were suggestions of some issues early in the game but it was clear in the closing stages as monkey chants were aimed at Danny Rose following a late tackle which earned him a yellow card.
Sterling wants to see swift and severe action taken by UEFA and insists banning only the few people who are caught is not enough.
“It is 2019 and I think there should be a real punishment for this, not just for the few people being banned,” he told BBC Radio 5Live.
“It needs to be a collective thing. This stadium holds 15,000 and I think the punishment should be that as a nation your fans are chanting racist abuse so I think it should be the whole stadium can’t watch it.
“Then when that ban is lifted your fans will think twice not to do anything silly like that because they all love football, they all want to be there to support their nation so it will make them think twice to do something silly like that.”
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”.
Sterling also explained why he celebrated in the manner he did, with a missile thrown from the stands in his direction as a result, explaining that he is still trying to raise awareness of the issue.
“I just wanted to let them know that they need to tell me more than that we are black and what we resemble to affect us really,” he said.
“That was the message really, I was happy to score and give them something to talk about.
“It’s not just young black men, it is young kids growing up in diverse cities, it’s not just black kids I want to reach out to.
“England, we’ve got a diverse country, it’s 2019 as I keep saying and there’s lots of different places in our country, it’s just bringing awareness and letting people know that it’s new times, it’s different.
“The FA can only do so much, we’ve got to leave this to the people in charge to really try and make a proper stance on it.”
Callum Hudson-Odoi made his full England debut and the 18-year-old impressed, although the experience of such a landmark occasion will be overshadowed for the Chelsea forward.
“I don’t think discrimination should be anywhere,” he told beIN Sports.
“I think we’re equal, we have to play a fair game and enjoy the moment.
“When you’re hearing stuff like that from the fans it’s not right, it’s unacceptable. Hopefully UEFA deal with it properly because when I went over there, me and Rosey heard it, monkey stuff.
“Raheem has always helped, no matter what. He’s been talking to me about it, trying to say me to: listen, don’t worry about it, it’s football, people do it.
“Obviously it’s not right but you’ve got to stay strong. People are always going to be rude to you or say stuff you don’t want to hear.
“It’s part of football, sometimes you have to block it out of your head, and just keep going with the game.”