The Football Association's independent director Heather Rabbatts has called on the game's authorities to respond to damning criticism by Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley over the handling of the John Terry and Luis Suarez racial abuse cases.
Ouseley said there was "very little morality" at the top clubs and a lack of leadership and "a moral vacuum" in the game. Rabbatts, appointed as an independent board member earlier this year and a potential candidate to be the next FA chairman, said Ouseley had raised important issues.
Ouseley has said he will step down from the FA council and may even resign as chairman of Kick It Out, the anti-discrimination group. Rabbatts told the Press Association: "The issues that Herman Ouseley is raising are hugely important issues for the whole game and it has to respond to these challenges."
She added: "There are a number of members from different parts of the game being consulted and we all have to rise to the current challenge. Despite the huge progress that has been made in tackling discrimination there is a need for renewed energy."
It has not been confirmed if Ouseley has formally resigned from his FA positions, and Rabbatts said there would be "real sadness" if he has done so.
She added: "I understand where he's coming from and it would be a real sadness to lose Herman from his FA positions."
Ouseley said Chelsea and Liverpool protected their players because they were "assets", even when they were alleged, and then proven, to have racially abused opponents.
"There is very little morality in football among the top clubs," Ouseley told The Guardian.
"Leadership is so important; you have to send a powerful message that racism is completely unacceptable. But there is a moral vacuum.
"The big clubs look after their players as assets. There was no bold attitude from them, to say that they would not put up with it."