Manchester City and England star Raheem Sterling has been awarded with The Integrity and Impact Award founded by Dow Jones Sports Intelligence at the BT Sport Industry Awards 2019 – the largest commercial sport awards in the world – marking a year in which the footballer used his platform and voice to speak out on a range of social issues.
Sterling received the award from his international manager Gareth Southgate and presenter Dan Walker at Battersea Evolution in London. The honour recognises the City star’s fight against racism in football, and how he has used his considerable platform both in the UK and abroad to call for more to be done to deter racial abuse within the game.
Sterling becomes the second recipient of the international award, following in the footsteps of Rachel Denhollander, who was the first survivor to speak out against disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and became the inaugural recipient in 2018.
In addition to presenting the honour, Southgate himself was part of an “FA and England Men’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Squad” delegation, which received the Leadership in Sport Award from former UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Baroness Amos.
Southgate picked up the trophy alongside both Martin Glenn and Mark Bullingham, respectively the outgoing and incoming Football Association (The FA) CEOs.
The award recognised the role of those involved in building a new atmosphere within the changing room and developing a new direction for English football which in 2018 culminated in the England Men’s National Team reaching the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Tony Blair was also in attendance at the BT Sport Industry Awards at Battersea Evolution to posthumously honour his friend and former colleague Dame Tessa Jowell in front of her family.
The Labour MP and minister was recognised by the sport industry for her services to sport, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and its legacy with the launch of the Tessa Jowell Social Impact Award.
The award – currently called the Social and Sustainable Development Award – will be renamed from 2020, and recognises the organisations that drive environmental, community or broader social benefits through sport.
Nick Keller, Chairman, Sport Industry Group, commented: “The athletes’ voice continues to have a powerful impact across the field of sport and beyond, with athletes like Raheem Sterling doing so much to raise the profile of the issues that affect us.
“With such a lack of leadership in public life, we see athletes making a stand for real change as something to be recognised and rewarded.
“Once again the BT Sport Industry Awards have showcased the very best work from across the industry, while also highlighting the vital role sport plays in society as a means of connecting people across communities in a deeper, more meaningful way.”
Simon Greenberg, Head of Sport, Dow Jones, added: “As founder and title sponsor of The Integrity and Impact Award, Dow Jones Sports Intelligence congratulates Raheem Sterling for the impact his actions have had in addressing racism in football and other important social issues of diversity and inclusivity, always doing so with integrity and honesty.
“He has given new confidence and a voice to other footballers and athletes to speak out when once they may not have done so. His decision to address a deeply personal issue just before the World Cup also helped set the tone for a new era of openness around the England squad at the most high profile time for the team which then helped reconnect it to the English public; and he has sparked the sports media and the industry more widely to consider conscious or sub-conscious racial bias in their actions.”
A host of sporting stars and celebrities took to the red carpet at Battersea Evolution in London as the best of the best from across the sport industry was recognised and celebrated at the 18th BT Sport Industry Awards – the industry’s biggest night of the year.
Hosted by Alex Scott MBE and Mark Durden-Smith, the event brings together senior figures from across the sport industry alongside sporting stars and media.