UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin insists the organisation is “trying” and “we care” over the fight against racism in football.
A number of high-profile incidents in recent weeks – including racist abuse hurled at England players in Bulgaria and chants aimed at Romelu Lukaku and Mario Balotelli in Italy- served to underline the problem.
It has seen UEFA come under fire for what is viewed in many quarters as their lack of appropriate disciplinary action.
In an interview with the Mirror, Ceferin said: “I don’t blame the players for what they say. I understand that the players are desperate because of the punishments and the incidents that are happening again and again.
“Of course you want to say (to UEFA): ‘Go to hell!’ I know.
“But I am not so naive to think that we’ve done all we can and now everything is finished. We haven’t.
“We are trying and we care. We are not just some guys in Nyon sitting eating fancy food and driving Ferraris.
“I went recently to the European Union. We speak with governments. We are trying to do something.”
Asked if he accepted personal responsibility for a widespread lack of faith in UEFA, he added: “Of course I do. Many people have pointed out that I’m the face of UEFA.
“Do you know what is the destiny of the presidents of an organisation like ours is? It’s that you are mainly connected to the negative stuff. If we are successful, nobody cares.
“I was the same. But then you come to the system and you see, it takes time. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of discussion.”
One of the major moves lined up by UEFA looks set to be an overhauling of its disciplinary panels, making them more diverse.
Ceferin said: “You have to have different perspectives, then you have a more, let’s say, clear view on what is right and what is wrong.
“We want to be specific. So we are working on that we will change our statutes about it in March, the next committee.”
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P