England can learn from Sweden’s proactive approach in tackling racism in the game, says Anita Asante.
The defender spent six years in the country playing for both Goteborg and FC Rosengard before returning to England last year to play for WSL side Chelsea.
Asante, who has been capped 70 times for the Lionesses, believes it is Sweden’s transparency and ability to openly tackle and talk about the issue that is something England can learn from.
“I definitely felt the clubs were proactive in tackling homophobia and racism,” Asante told Sky Sports News as part of the ‘Tackling Racism’ showfocusing on women of colour in the game.
“They would not only bring the topic up to make it a talking point, but they would work with other entities within the community to address the issue.
“Sweden are a nation used to taking immigrants in, particularly refugees from different countries over the generations.
“They have actively used sport as a tool for integration within society with players happy to share their back stories to help others feel secure and know how to deal with things themselves.
“We as a nation have a lot of diversity and I think we need to think on the same level as Sweden.
“We can definitely take some best practices from them and try to implement them over here.”
Asante, who is of Ghanaian descent, believes it is not the big campaigns that England are lacking in, but smaller touches that made the difference in Sweden.
“It was not always an elaborate thing, sometimes it was the small things like having the corner flag as a Pride flag or having the team march in Pride,” added Asante.
“Obviously we do a lot of big campaigns here around racism, but it’s not just about campaigns anymore.
“It’s also about when issues arrive – knowing the protocols and the penalties for those who go against the grain and behave inappropriately.
“The biggest issue in terms of the FA or any sporting body is making it clear and transparent what the procedures for when a player has a complaint.
“How many players actually know what the best way is to address the situation regards of racism, sexism, discrimination or sexual harassment? Sometimes even those in the roles don’t know and it’s about communication and education.”