Football by essence is anti-racist: Wenger

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, June 13: The very fact that many football players have shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and that so many black players have made the grade makes former Arsenal manager Arsne Wenger believe that the sport does not suffer from racism.

The killing of unarmed black man George Floyd by a white policeman in Minneapolis last month has prompted a wave of protests across the world and focussed attention on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Frenchman Wenger who coached Arsenal for a record 21 years, opined that football is a non-racist sport and he wants the society, in general, to learn from it.

"I would say football is by essence anti-racist," Wenger was quoted as saying in an exclusive interview with BeIN Sport.

"Why? Because you know that no matter if you're the son of the King of England or if you're black or white or red - if you're good you play.

"And I would even say that football is an example of how the whole of society should work, because it's only based on merit and quality. If you're good enough, you play.

"Inside the game, there's no racism. Around football and in the stands it happens and we've seen it again in England with the national team away games."

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling suggested that despite a large percentage of black players in the Premier League, representation in administration and coaching roles in England was lagging way behind.

Sterling calls for more BAME representation in leadership positions

Wenger, however, warns that those roles should also be filled on merit, not because of pressure to be inclusive.

"In France we created the concept of positive discrimination but that means you give positions to people because they're not given enough chances - but this is also discrimination because people who are better may not get the job," he said.

"So you want people to give the same chances to everybody, no matter where you're from or how you look, but as well, not to create another discrimination because of artificial solutions."

"Sol Campbell is a manager - I hope he'll make it at the top level and I heard he's doing very good work. It's a kind of humiliation to say you just got this position because of where you're from. Personally, I fight for the merit."

(With inputs from BeIN Sport Media)

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