Lord Ouseley, founder of the campaign group Kick it Out, says racism in football needs to be dealt with “at the top” following the alleged abuse of Raheem Sterling.
Manchester City forward Sterling suffered a barrage of insults from Chelsea supporters during Saturday’s Premier League match at Stamford Bridge.
Ouseley believes there is a lack of leadership in tackling the problem, singling out Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore and Football Association chairman Greg Clarke for criticism.
“What happened at Chelsea shows what is still going on in football,” said Ouseley in a statement.
“Were is Richard Scudamore? Where is Greg Clarke? Where is Chelsea’s chairman? They should have been talking out last night and it has to (be) dealt with at the top.
“We do not have any leadership at the top of the game to speak out, they rely on Kick it Out.”
Ouseley previously wrote about the media’s portrayal of Sterling in a column for The Voice newspaper published in August.
“We have already made comments about the way Raheem Sterling has been treated differently by the media. The print media often targets, not just black players, but all footballers,” he added.
“Raheem Sterling has received bad press over the last few years because of his lifestyle and clearly there are issues from potential stories adding to prejudice and I have every sympathy for him.”
Sterling was abused by home supporters as he retrieved the ball during the first half of Saturday’s match, with the footage widely shared on social media.
Ex-footballers Gary Lineker and Ian Wright were among those to quickly condemn the incident.
England international Sterling responded on Sunday morning with an Instagram post which accused newspapers of “fuelling racism”.
The 24-year-old has since received widespread support.
Labour MP Bill Esterson tweeted: “Excellent from @sterling7 It’s not surprising if the mainstream media single out and slag off young black footballers when fans scream racist abuse at black players at the match.”
England cricketer Ben Stokes simply tweeted Sterling’s name followed by supportive emojis including a thumbs up while former footballer Jim Beglin posted: “Scumbag Mentality 0 – 1 Raheem Sterling. #CHEMCI”.
Former England striker Lineker felt Sterling’s response was justified and praised him for speaking out.
“He most certainly has a point. It’s brave and right that @sterling7 speaks out,” the Match of the Day host tweeted.
Comedy actor Adil Ray and ex-Manchester City striker Shaun Goater shared their admiration for Sterling.
“Raheem Sterling: Manchester City forward says newspapers ‘fuel racism’ in football – well said @sterling7 sending you loads of love. Top man!,” tweeted Ray, while Goater posted: “Massive respect @sterling7.”
However, television presenter Piers Morgan disagreed that the media’s treatment of Sterling was racist, saying he received attention because of his high profile.
“Swap ‘Rooney’ for ‘Sterling’ in all the headlines everyone’s tweeting, and tell me they’re still ‘racist’,” Morgan posted on Twitter.
“Both have received the same intense media treatment (good & bad) because England’s best footballers sell papers. They also use the media to promote & enrich themselves.”
Morgan, who is set to debate Sterling’s comments with Times journalist Henry Winter on Good Morning Britain on Monday, was quickly criticised by former England defender Rio Ferdinand.
“@piersmorgan comparing @sterling7 to Beckham,Best & Rooney is off the mark. The reasons for the spotlight and derogatory press they received compared to Raheem are like night and day,” tweeted Ferdinand.