The British Prime Minister David Cameron has called on football to crush racism within the game before the impact of recent incidents has a negative effect on society at large.
But Cameron, speaking at a Downing Street anti-discrimination summit, said he was confident work done in the fight against racism in the sport would not be undermined by a couple of high-profile controversies.
Cameron's intervention came after two major flashpoints for English football.
Controversy was stirred when Liverpool striker Luis Suarez refused to shake hands with Manchester United's Patrice Evra before their clubs' match at Old Trafford earlier this month.
Suarez has only recently returned for Liverpool after serving an eight-match ban for racially abusing Evra during a game in October.
Meanwhile Chelsea's John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy while he awaits a criminal trial on charges of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand.
Cameron said British football should be proud of its anti-racism work during the past 20 years or so but warned it needed to act quickly to make sure problems don't creep back in.