Alleged racist abuse of Sterling ‘disgusting’, says Sarri
Maurizio Sarri has described the alleged racist abuse of Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling by Chelsea fans as “disgusting” and condemned discrimination in any form in his first public comments on the incident.
Chelsea said on Monday they had banned four supporters from their matches pending a police investigation into the incident which occurred during City’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at Stamford Bridge last Saturday.
“First of all, I want to say that I condemn any form of discrimination, of course. I think that I have to stop here,” the Chelsea manager told reporters ahead of Thursday’s Europa League match against Vidi in Budapest.
“Because there is an investigation so I think it’s better not to say something more. Of course, my opinion is that I condemn every sort of discrimination.
“It was disgusting. You know very well my opinion, the opinion of the club, but now we have to go on.”
Sterling posted a statement on Instagram last Sunday in which he said newspapers were fuelling racism in soccer due to their negative portrayal of young black players in comparison to their white counterparts.
View this post on Instagram
Good morning I just want to say , I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to heard I will speak up. Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better. For example you have two young players starting out there careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing. Which is buy a new house for there mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the news papers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white payer. I think this in unacceptable both innocent have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded. This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an aggressive behaviour, so for all the news papers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all i have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an give all players an equal chance.
His comments were echoed by the Professional Footballers’ Association and former players.
One of the Chelsea supporters who has been banned admitted directing abuse at Sterling but said the vitriol was ‘not racist in nature’.
Sterling’s England team mate Ruben Loftus-Cheek said a strong response was needed to rid the sport of the problem.
“It doesn’t happen a lot in England, but obviously still happens. Most people don’t like this and it needs to be out of the game as quick as possible,” Loftus-Cheek said.
“He (Sterling) was right to say what he said. I don’t think it should be in the game or anywhere. Him speaking out was the right thing. If it happened to me I would do the same.”
REUTERS/Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru