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Raheem Sterling named BEDSA sportsman of the year

HONOURED: Raheem Sterling won sportsman of the year at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSA)

ONE OF the most respected coaches in Europe has backed Raheem Sterling in his calls for racism in football to be tackled by the authorities.

There have been a number of incidents at elite and grassroots level with several calls for stronger punishments for perpetrators. There were alleged racist incidents at Newcastle, Wigan, Brentford and Northampton last week.

Chris Ramsey, the former QPR manager, was speaking at the recent British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSA) where Manchester City and England ace Sterling was named sportsman of the year.

Ramsey, Rangers’ technical director, said: "We've talked a lot about evolution but I think we have to move closer to a revolution.

"I've been in the game 41 years and the change has been slow. Of course we're always disappointed, but it's never really gone away, has it?

"Now there's more awareness, something that I think is important. People are aware these incidents are more prevalent. Fair play to the people that are dealing with it and fair play to the people that have brought it to our attention."

Danny Rose was one of several England players who were abused in during a European Championship qualifier in Montenegro, and he said recently he "just can't wait to see the back of football" because of what he sees as authorities' poor handling of racist incidents.

Ramsey praised Rose for speaking out, saying: "Danny's a very brave boy and it's important people with economic value do talk, like him and Raheem [Sterling]. People aren't going to listen to anyone else. I think he spoke well and I can understand where he's coming from."

Meanwhile Troy Townsend from football’s anti racism campaign, Kick It Out, said: “The authorities, with all their resources and power, are failing black players time and time again. So players have little choice but to take matters into their own hands.

“By speaking out as a high-profile player, Danny Rose has become a thorn in the side of those who would rather footballers stick to playing football and looking glamorous.

“They’re scared of the damage this will do to the image of the beautiful game if its most important commodities are making the wrong sort of headlines.

“Unless we see proper action from these very people, this won’t go away. Mark my words: there will be more and more players speaking out and taking increasingly bolder steps in protest. And the sport’s image will suffer more.

“It’s a sorry state of affairs when a man is desperate to turn his back on his livelihood because his industry has failed to protect him – and so many others like him.”

See the full list of BEDSA winners below:

Youth Sport Trust Young Sportsperson of the Year - Kare Adenegan

The British Army Unsung Champion - Harmander Singh

England Athletics Coach of the Year - Haj Bhania

UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year - Ranvir Singh

Sport England Community Sports Project of the Year - GirlDreamer: Boarders without Borders

Spirit of 2012 Connecting Communities Award - Unity Gym

The LTA Community Project of the Year - British Muslim Heritage Centre

England Wales Cricket Board Special Recognition Award - National Asian Cricket Council

The Royal Navy Sports Woman of the Year Award - Ama Agbeze

The City Livery Club Sportsman of the Year Award - Raheem Sterling

The FA Special Recognition Award - Kulwinder Singh Johal

Sporting Equals Lifetime Achievement Award - Brendon Batson OBE

Sky Media Leadership in Sport Award - Nigel Walker

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