Raheem Sterling believes that the better coaching roles Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have landed compared to Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole highlighting English football’s deep-rooted racism.
And the England and Manchester City forward have called for equal opportunities for Black people in football.
By joining the calls for change in society and, in his case, the football industry, Sterling has echoed the sentiments of Black Lives Matter protesters.
US citizen George Floyd’s shocking death last month has sparked worldwide demonstrations.
Sterling acknowledges the marches are a ‘strong starting point’ but has announced it is now time for a change and not just words in the fight against racism, inequality, and the oppression of black people in every aspect of life.
Gerrard is in charge of Rangers while Lampard is on his second job — following a spell in charge of Derby as Chelsea manager.
Meanwhile, after starting to battle Macclesfield, Campbell is in his second lower-league job as Southend boss. Cole is a mentor for young people at Chelsea.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Sterling said:
‘It’s about getting together and seeking a way that can ignite change, so we can talk about reforming and placing people, black people, in those roles I think they should be in. The coaching staff you see around football clubs for example. I’m going to give you one perfect example. Steven Gerrard is here, Frank Lampard is there, you have Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole is there. They all had great careers and they all played for England. At the same time, they have all done their coaching badges respectfully to coach at the highest level and the two who have not been given the right opportunities are the two black former players.’
In English football, the proportion of black players is nowhere near represented in off-field coaching, the management, or senior positions.
Though a third of the players in the Premier League are black, the only black manager is Wolves’, Nuno Espirito Santo.
There are also no black or ethnic minority top-flight board members or chief executives.
When asked whether he thinks that the current calls for reform would affect, Sterling said:
“If there are more black people in leadership roles. Sterling emerged as a leading voice on racism in football, particularly after becoming the victim of sickening abuse when Manchester City played in December 2018 at Chelsea. It’s a perfect starting point to have your voice heard and to start protesting. People in roles like the one in which I am lucky enough to be now is a time to talk about inequality.”
The Manchester City forward encouraged other footballers to speak up using their voice.