Patrick Vieira believes clubs must be docked points or thrown out of European competition if the issue of racism is to be taken seriously in the modern game.
Although English football has long been praised for the way it has emerged from the shadow of racism on the terraces, several incidents over the past 12 months have led Vieira to be fearful for the future unless football's governing bodies take a tough stance.
As well as incidents in England, there have also been high-profile instances of racism in Eastern Europe and Italy.
UEFA has long been criticised for the way it handles racist behaviour from supporters, handing out fines of just a few thousand pounds to national associations - while Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner was penalised £80,000 for wearing a pair of pants bearing the name of a betting company at Euro 2012.
Vieira, who acts as Manchester City's football development executive, insists it is time for all those in a position of responsibility to act.
"If you really want to fight racism, if you really want to show to the world that football wants to fight against it, you will have to use a deduction of points against clubs or kick them out of European competition," Vieira said in an interview with The Times. "That will stop it, of course. If you kick a club out of Europe because they couldn't control their fans, it will happen once and I can guarantee it's not going to happen twice.
"If nothing is done, the situation will get worse and worse and you never know where things will go. Before we get to a place where you can't control it any more, you have to stop it straightaway and the only way you can stop it is to have clear, strong punishments.
"Of course, we all need a second chance, we all need to realise that we are doing something wrong, but if you do it again, the punishments should be really hard. We need clear rules so that everyone knows what punishment they will get if they don't play by the rules.
"I believe that Italy doesn't want to fight racism, for me that is clear. I hope that England is not going to be like that. I don't want England to get where Italy is because Italy will never fight against it, so as a black player if you go to play in Italy you have to expect that and you have to accept it.
"I think in the FIFA and UEFA rules, they need to show that they are clearly fighting against it. They have to show the example, but if they don't England can take the responsibility of doing it."