Following the announcement by Chelsea Football Club that they have given a lifetime ban to a supporter who racially abused Raheem Sterling at Stamford Bridge at a Premier League fixture in December, Kick It Out have made a statement.

The statement reads: “We are disappointed that the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to pursue a case against the supporter who racially abused Raheem Sterling, but we are pleased Chelsea have sent a strong message that racism has absolutely no place at their club or in football.

“Kick It Out is a firm believer in the power of education to rehabilitate offenders, however we believe in a case as serious as this, a lifetime ban was an appropriate sanction.

 “The racist abuse Raheem Sterling suffered that day was a disgrace and his response on social media was an important moment in forcing football to have a far more honest and open conversation about racism and discrimination in the game.

“However, there remains a long journey ahead to tackle the problem effectively and it’s vital the discussion continues in the coming years.

“As revealed by Kick It Out’s recently-published discrimination statistics for 2018/19, last season there was a 67% increase in racist incidents in the professional game reported to the organisation. Decisive action – such as the lifetime ban delivered by Chelsea – is vital to combat that rise and make it clear to anyone in football that racism will not be tolerated in our game.”