Lord Herman Ouseley, the chairman of Kick It Out, has criticised the Football Association and the Premier and Football Leagues for the time taken responding to the government's request for improved anti-racism policies. Detailed plans are at an advanced stage, including a commitment to recruit more black and ethnic-minority coaches and referees, but they will not be delivered to the government until February at the earliest.
That will amount to a full year since the FA and leagues met the prime minister, David Cameron, in Downing Street and promised to improve the game's stance on racism.
Lord Ouseley, who this week described the FA, Premier League, Chelsea and Liverpool as lacking in "moral leadership" in their handling of the racial abuse by Liverpool's Luis Suárez and Chelsea's John Terry, told the Guardian: "It comes down to leadership again. Football should have produced these plans immediately, not taken a year to get them to the government. Are the people running the leagues giving dynamic leadership and selling to the clubs what is expected of them, telling them where society is, and that they have to change?"
The FA chairman, David Bernstein, has told the government he considers anti-racism a priority both for the game's governing body and for him personally, before he steps down from his post in May. After the Suárez and Terry incidents, outbursts of racism by supporters and expression of dissatisfaction by many black players led by the Reading striker, Jason Roberts, there is unanimous agreement by the football authorities that concerted action must be taken.
However, agreeing the detail, by the Premier and Football Leagues, all their 92 clubs, the Professional Footballers' Association, League Managers Association and other bodies, has drawn the process out. The FA has indicated it would like to get agreed proposals to the government before the new year but the Premier League is not working to that timetable.
Instead the 20 Premier League clubs will be given an update about the proposals at their meeting on 18 December. The Premier League hopes that following more work, its clubs will be able finally to agree the action plan at their next meeting, in February.
Details of a draft plan, understood to have the leagues' broad agreement, published in the Daily Mail, include an immediate target that 10% of recruits to the FA's first-rung coaching courses will be from black and ethnic minorities, and 10% of referees by 2015-16. This, though, applies only to "entry-level" grass-roots football. The professional clubs and leagues are not agreeing to a precise target or to the so-called "Rooney rule" to encourage more black professional coaches.
The Rooney rule, which operates in US sport, requires a black candidate to be at least interviewed for every vacant coaching position, and is credited with advancing more black coaches. The PFA included the Rooney rule in its six-point plan issued in October, during the fierce protests against English football's attitudes to black players, led by Roberts.
Gordon Taylor, the PFA chief executive, said: "We have not given up on the Rooney rule being implemented and will look for other ways to make sure more black managers and coaches are recruited."
While resistant to a rule requiring them to interview or recruit black coaches, the Premier and Football Leagues are expected to agree that they must improve their recruitment procedures. The thrust of the proposals are likely to be encouraging more top black players to take coaching qualifications in the belief that opportunities will open up and for recruitment procedures by clubs to be clearly fair, transparent and based on merit.
The government is understood to feel that the football authorities' response could have been quicker but officials are said to be encouraged by the drafts of the proposals they have been shown.
A Department of Culture, Media and Sport spokesman, said: "We expect the football authorities to come forward with their finalised plan in the coming weeks to help tackle racism and discrimination in the game. While there has been good progress over the last 20 years in this country on the issue, recent events have shown the need for further, concerted action."