Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has questioned whether football’s governing bodies are doing enough in the fight against racism.
Chelsea and the Metropolitan Police have launched investigations into alleged racist abuse from a section of Chelsea supporters towards Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling in last Saturday’s Premier League game at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea subsequently suspended four people in connection with the incident.
Sterling spoke out in a post on social media last weekend, and Ferdinand told BT Sport: “I think you have got to be proud that Raheem has had the character to come out and speak about it. You have got to speak about it.
“We have to ask the question – is the Premier League, is the FA, are UEFA, are FIFA doing enough?
“Yes, we have all these slogans and these little campaigns, but for me, they are too fly-by.
“There needs to be more substance behind these things, but also, like Pep (Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola) said, football is a microcosm of society. In society, there are issues.”
West Brom head coach Darren Moore, meanwhile, believes a level of complacency exists in British football’s fight against racism, claiming “we’re nowhere near where we thought we were”.
The Baggies boss, who is one of very few high-profile black managers or coaches in this country, described alleged abuse directed at Sterling against Chelsea as “an isolated incident”.
However, he was keen to stress that an element of racism remains in the game and believes the issue has been overlooked.
“We’ve probably been complacent, as a sport,” he said.
“It’s a good point. Incidents like we’ve just witnessed shouldn’t be happening in this day and age. It’s highlighted that we aren’t where we thought we were.
“We’re nowhere near.”
Speaking at a press conference ahead of his side’s Championship clash at Sheffield United on Friday, he added: “It’s brought us as a footballing world together and into thinking that we need to do something about it.
“Supporters in the stand, if they hear things like that now, they’ll point out the culprits.
“Let’s get them far away from our game, because it’s damaging the sport.”
England international Sterling, who was named the Premier League player of the month for November on Wednesday, has accused the media of fuelling racism in its reporting of certain stories.
“I thought the way Raheem articulated himself was spot on,” Moore added.
“He has a point. He’s probably expressing that – ‘come on, let’s us together, everyone, the governing bodies, the clubs, the media – we have an opportunity to get clear open messages and educate people and make a step forward in trying to deal with this situation’.”