Sarri condemns abuse of Sterling as 'disgusting'

LONDON • 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 that 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 I have to stop here," the Chelsea manager told reporters ahead of this morning's (Singapore time) Europa League match against Vidi in Budapest.

"Because there is an investigation, 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 football due to their negative portrayal of black players, compared to their white counterparts.

His comments were echoed by the Professional Footballers' Association and former players.

One of the banned Chelsea supporters admitted directing abuse at Sterling but said the vitriol was "not racist in nature".

Sterling's England teammate Ruben Loftus-Cheek said a strong response was needed to rid the sport of the problem.

He 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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2018, with the headline 'Sarri condemns abuse of Sterling as 'disgusting''. Print Edition | Subscribe