England and Chelsea star Raheem Sterling has launched a scholarship fund aimed at closing the gap in the number of black British students who go to university.

The footballer’s foundation will financially support 14 students to attend either Manchester or King’s College London universities.

The footballer said he hoped it would improve social mobility.

The first four scholarships will be available for students commencing degree programmes in 2023/24.

It comes as King’s College London research showed in 2021/22, less than 5% of all UK students starting undergraduate degrees at Russell Group universities were black.

Government data, external also showed in the 2019/20 academic year, only 8.7% of undergraduate students in the UK were black.

Sterling said: “I hope this initiative will be a real game changer over the next few years and I am delighted to be working with two of the finest universities in the world.

“I wish the recipients of our funding all the very best and look forward to meeting everyone on campus in Manchester and London later this year.”

‘Realise their full potential’

Clive Ellington, chair of trustees, added: ”At the Raheem Sterling Foundation, we believe that access to better education and employment opportunities should be made fair to all young people regardless of financial circumstances and background.

“The work we do is in pursuit of improving their opportunities, future careers and quality of life and we won’t rest until we succeed in Raheem’s vision of achieving this.”

University of Manchester’s president and vice chancellor, Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell, said the scheme would give the university additional support to “enable talented black students to access higher education, mitigating financial challenges so they are better able to focus on their studies and realise their full potential”.

President and principal of King’s College London, Prof Shitij Kapur, said: “Widening participation in higher education makes both King’s and the wider world a better place.”

A trial date has been set for a man suspected of breaking into Raheem Sterling’s house during the World Cup.

Jewellery and watches worth £300,000 were reportedly stolen from the property in Oxshott, Surrey, while Sterling was in Qatar with England.

The player left England’s World Cup camp to be with family after intruders broke in on 3 December 2022.

Emiliano Krosi, 23, of Ditton Court Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, appeared at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday.

He faces 33 counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, one of which was the former Manchester City and current Chelsea star’s home.

Following the incident, Sterling was forced to miss England’s 3-0 win over Senegal.

The plea hearing will take place on 3 November, with a two week trial on 14 February 2023.

Mr Krosi was remanded in custody.

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