By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes sport can be a force for good in the fight against racism - and says society should follow its lead.

Discrimination in football has been in the headlines due to high-profile incidents involving Luis Suarez and John Terry, and the refusal of a number of black players to wear T-shirts in support of the Kick It Out campaign last weekend.

Jason Roberts and Rio Ferdinand were among those who protested, prompting the PFA to issue a six-point action plan to deal with racism and other forms of discrimination in the sport.

Wenger wants to see such behaviour eradicated but he believes that sport is already setting a good example.

"I’m a bit surprised that suddenly it becomes such a massive problem because I feel that sport can be a massive example for [the] fight against racism," said Wenger. "Suddenly it looks like we have a problem inside our sport, which I don’t believe we have.

"Sport has one big advantage. You can measure the performances of people. If you’re good, you play. That’s why I think sport can be a massive example of what society should be, it should follow the example of sport.

"That we suddenly have that problem is for me quite surprising because overall I don’t feel you ever leave any player out for a racial reason. You only field your best team and you just look at the quality of the players, or what you think is the quality of the players.

"I think we can set a huge example. I don’t think in England there’s a specific problem about that. But having said that, I’m not in their place. If some black players feel they are discriminated [against], they have to come out and speak about it. I personally didn’t feel that.

"I don’t know exactly what they [the PFA] want to do and I do not know the problem well enough to speak in detail about it. I just think in sport, it’s about performance - and it should be in society as well. I’m always ready to fight for that.

"Sport can be the head of a society because of that. Because as well, there is no language problem. If you don’t speak the language, you can still play with a player if you’re good enough. Therefore, there’s very little discrimination in our job."

There are relatively few black managers in British football and Wenger is surprised by that.

"I don’t know [why it is]," he said. "For me they are welcome. I don’t see any difference between black or white. I could never understand that difference.

"You judge people on facts and on what they did in life. I never considered where you come from or what colour you are. I think if you’re good enough, you help people. If they have a good attitude, you help people.

"I believe as well, we have to keep the priorities right. That means people who want to do a job, who have the qualities to do a job, to give them the job."

  • The Club will celebrate Arsenal For Everyone at Saturday's game against QPR, an ongoing scheme which embraces the diversity and equality of the Club and its fan base

Join the conversation on Twitter: #AFCvQPR

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
25 Oct 2012