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Raheem Sterling: Montenegro should face stadium ban for racist abuse

Raheem Sterling stood up to Montenegro fans after they shouted racist comments. Credit: PA

Raheem Sterling has called for Montenegro to be hit with a stadium ban after England players were subjected to racist abuse on Monday night.

UEFA is set to launch an investigation after racist chanting was directed at a number of England players, including Danny Rose who was subjected to monkey chants at the end of an impressive 5-1 win.

Star player Raheem Sterling celebrated the final goal of the night by pulling out his ears in front of the home fans - a gesture he later said was a response to the racist abuse.

The 24-year-old has said he wants to see swift and severe action taken by UEFA and insisted banning only the few people who are caught is not enough.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Sterling said: "It is 2019 and I think there should be a real punishment for this, not just for the few people being banned.

"It needs to be a collective thing.

"This stadium holds 15,000 and I think the punishment should be that as a nation your fans are chanting racist abuse so I think it should be the whole stadium can't watch it.

"Then when that ban is lifted your fans will think twice not to do anything silly like that because they all love football, they all want to be there to support their nation so it will make them think twice to do something silly like that."

Speaking after the match, Sterling added, "this is 2019, it's getting a bit silly", adding that racist incidents need to be spoken about.

He added that he gestured to his ears after scoring "to rub it in their wounds a little bit more, we were winning".

Racist chanting is "not going to affect us", he continued, "you've got to come better than that".

Callum Hudson-Odoi made his full England debut in the match, although the experience of such a landmark occasion will be overshadowed for the Chelsea forward who picked up an item thrown from the stands.

Monday was always likely to be a difficult evening for the Three Lions, whose players were made aware of what could lie in store in Podgorica by the management team in the build-up.

England head coach Gareth Southgate looks on during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group A match at the Podgorica City Stadium. Credit: PA

Speaking after the match an emotional Southgate described what had happened as "unacceptable".

"I've spoken to our players individually. We've got to support them. We will report it.

"But I think that reporting is already in place because so many people in other areas of the ground have heard it. I believe the UEFA delegate also heard it.

"So, our part will be to make sure that process is followed, but more importantly for me is that the players in the dressing room know that as a group of staff and as an organisation we're there for them.

"That's the most important thing."

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Asked if he should have shamed the hosts and taken his players off the pitch, the England boss said: "I'm not 100 per cent certain that that would be what the players would want."

Southgate did not want to be drawn into sanctions, instead pointing to education when he was told that Montenegro boss Ljubisa Tumbakovic claimed not to have heard anything.

"I don't think I need to comment on what was said," England boss Southgate said.

"It was clear to everybody that there were comments made.

"Reflecting on sanctions, sanctions are only of any use if they lead to education.

"Sanctions are worthless if there is nothing alongside that to help educate people."

England's Harry Kane (right) in action against Montenegro players. Credit: PA

UEFA regulations state that if supporters engage in racist behaviour then "the member association or club responsible is punished with a minimum of a partial stadium closure".

Article 14 also states that additional disciplinary measures can be imposed depending on the situation, while "disciplinary measures may be combined with specific directives aimed at tackling such conduct".