Raheem Sterling Demands Equal Opportunities For Blacks in British Football.

 In a recent interview with BBC Newsnight, Raheem Sterling highlighted the deep-rooted racism in British football. He backed his claim saying that Steven Gerard and Frank Lampard have been given better coaching roles compared to what fellow former black British players, Sol Campbell and Ashely Cole, have enjoyed. 

The Manchester City player said: “There’s Steven Gerrard, your Frank Lampards, you have your Sol Campbells and you have your Ashley Coles. All done their coaching badges, the two that haven’t been given the right opportunities are the two black former players.” 

Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are currently managing Chelsea and Rangers respectively, two top-tier clubs in the UK. Meanwhile, Sol Campbell is the head coach of Southend United (a third-tier club in England) after surviving a struggling Macclesfield (a fourth-tier club in England. And Ashely Cole is the Under-15 coach of Chelsea football club. 

The number of blacks in coaching, management or senior positions outside known to be outside playing football are very small compared to the black footballers in English football. Wolves boss, Nuno Espirito Santo, is the only black manager in the Premier League. Top-tier board members or chief executives contain no single black or other ethnic minority. Sterling has called for more BAME representatives (coaches and leaders) in British football.  

The 25years old forward replied to the question if the change he’s demanding would have any impact in the current situation of things he has just emphasized: “When I can have someone from a black background for me to be able to go in the FA with a problem I have within the club. These will be the times that I know that change is happening and not just in my field, also in parliament.

What is it in parliament? Six hundred and something MPs in parliament and only 21 of them are black. So this just shows how far behind we are. Once we do see those numbers shifting, that’s when I’ll be happy and the people will be happy.

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.

I want change! The change is being able to speak to people in parliament, people at the hierarchy at my football club – not just my football club, football clubs across the country, people at the national team of England, to implement change and give equal chances to black coaches – and not just black coaches, but also different ethnicities.

I just really want to say, black coaches most importantly. To 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.”  

Raheem Sterling added that he hopes to see more players in the coming weeks speak out or show support to this particular view of his: “It’s a great starting point to start protesting and get your voice heard. People in positions like the one I’m lucky enough to be in, this is a time to speak on injustice.

I come from the football industry, someone like Anthony Joshua from the boxing industry. He can talk on the injustices he sees. It’s how we move on from here. It’s about highlighting aspects and society that needs changing and then acting upon it.

We’ve done a lot of talking and it’s time now to act. You need to have people fighting on the forefront, giving valid points and situations in everyday lives, everyday walks of life, speaking on these subjects, and bringing it to the necessary people. Keep fighting for change.”