England's 5-1 win over Montenegro was marred by racist abuse from sections of the home support aimed at England's black players, with several of them calling for sanctions to be levied against fans to prevent it being repeated.
Several players in addition to Sterling were targeted by sections of the Montenegrin support during the UEFA Euro qualifier victory, with Tottenham Hotspur's Danny Rose and Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi also seeing sustained abuse throughout the game.
Several English players were openly critical of the racist chants upon the final whistle, with Sterling opting to not hold his tongue when discussing the matter with BBC Radio 5 Live.
"A couple of idiots ruined a great night and it is a real sad thing to hear," Sterling said. "It's a real sad situation we are talking about after a great win.
"I don't think it was just one or two people that heard it, it was the whole bench. There should be a real punishment for this, not just the two or three people who were doing it – it needs to be a collective thing.
Manchester City's Sterling, whose strike against Montenegro was his fourth goal for his national team in the space of a week, celebrated by goading the boo-boys inside the stadium and insisted that the home side should be sanctioned for the actions of sections of their support.
"This place holds 15,000. The punishment should be, whatever nation it is, if your fans are chanting racist abuse then it should be the whole stadium so no-one can come and watch.
"When the ban is lifted, the fans will think twice. They all love football, they all want to come and watch their nation so it will make them think twice before doing something silly like that."
UEFA appear to agree. European football's governing body revealed early Tuesday that "disciplinary proceedings" have been opened against Montenegro, with at least one charge of "racist behavior" included in that after details were submitted by FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) who had an observer present at the game. The case will be heard on May 16. Additional charges for various crowd disturbances are also expected.
England to make complaint to UEFA over racist abuse in Montenegro.
Southgate: “We have to make sure we support our players”
“I definitely heard abuse of Danny Rose when he got booked”
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) March 25, 2019
England's Callum Hudson-Odoi says there were racist chants from Montenegro fans at today's Euro qualifier:
"When I went over there me and [Danny Rose] heard it. 'Ooh aah aah.' They were saying monkey stuff…Read More – Source