London - Chelsea and England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek
praised his international team-mate Raheem Sterling for being strong-willed
enough to speak out publicly against the racist abuse he has received.
Television cameras caught a Chelsea fan allegedly aiming
racist abuse at Sterling during the Blues' 2-0 win over City at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea and the British police are investigating the
incident. The club have suspended four fans until they have concluded their
probe, with the threat of permanent bans if they find evidence of racist
Loftus-Cheek and Sterling were part of England's squad that
reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in July.
"I haven't spoken to Raheem about it. I prefer to leave
him and let him deal with it mentally himself," said Loftus-Cheek on
Wednesday ahead of Chelsea's Europa League tie in Hungary against Vidi.
"He's a strong-minded person so I'm sure he will be
alright but I think he was right to say what he said.
"I don't think it should be in the game, or anywhere,
so him speaking out was the right thing to do and if it happened to me I would
do the same."
Loftus-Cheek said he had never personally suffered racism in
football, although he had off the field as a child, but believes progress is
"I'm not surprised to be asked about it because I'm a
black player. People want to know my opinion about it and I'll give my opinion
"It's something that's not nice for us black players
but we've definitely made some steps if we're looking back.
"It's a negative point if it is racial abuse, but on a
positive point we have made some steps."
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri said the club will do all it
can to cut out racial discrimination of any kind.
"First of all I want to say I condemn any form of
discrimination," said the Italian.
"I think I have to stop here because there is an
investigation, and so I think it's better not to say anything more. But of
course my opinion is that I condemn every sort of discrimination."