BERN (Reuters) – UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin on Wednesday praised footballers for taking a political stance and said the European soccer governing body’s own attempts to tackle racism in the game were “not enough.”
Ceferin singled out Manchester City’s England forward Raheem Sterling, Real Madrid’s Brazilian full back Marcelo and Bayern Munich’s German defender Jerome Boateng for speaking out on racism.
“I am proud of the fact that footballers are leading some of today’s most important international debates,” Ceferin told a video news conference after a UEFA meeting.
“Football really can be an important vehicle for good and these examples demonstrate that.”
He also praised Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford after the England forward’s successful campaign for school food vouchers to be provided over the summer holidays in Britain.
After originally saying school food vouchers would not be available over the long summer holiday, British ministers bowed to pressure after 22-year-old Rashford took up the cause and revealed how he had relied on such support as a boy.
“We know the power of football is huge so we should use that for good messages,” said Ceferin, who also reflected on UEFA’s attempts to tackle racism.
“Probably those campaigns we had were not enough, we tried hard but I think we should go to the next level,” he said. “We know the situation is serious and it gets more serious every day.”
(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)