The FA, on the balance of probabilities, are one of the most spineless governing bodies in the world

Against the backdrop of John Terry's disciplinary hearing with The Football Association for the alleged racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand, much debate has emanated regarding the wider issues of racism within the sport.

Whilst Terry was found guilty of using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand, which included a reference to colour and/or race, many have suggested that racism is a widespread problem, with the inclination that it is an incessant disease manifesting itself within the sport.

In the past 12 months there have been a number of issues that have brought this argument to the forefront of people's minds.

Luis Suarez, the Liverpool striker, was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra, the Manchester United defender, in a league game at Anfield last season -a week before John Terry, the Chelsea captain, was alleged to have racially abused Anton Ferdinand, the Queens Park Rangers defender.

These two cases alone brought such unwanted attention to a sport that has, we are lead to believe, worked tirelessly to rid itself of this type of incident.

The outlook is very different to how it once was. Gone are the days that, in this country at least, black players are be subjected to the abuse that is so evident in countries such as Ukraine, Russia and Spain.

But how far have we actually come?

As children, we are told by our elders to 'speak up' if we are bullied, in the knowledge that those responsible will be dealt with accordingly. But, if the aforementioned cases are anything to go by, why on earth would you put yourself through what Evra and Ferdinand have had to endure?

For having the temerity to make an official complaint of racist abuse against Suarez, Evra finds himself on the receiving end of insults and boos every time he faces Liverpool. Similarly, Ferdinand is roundly booed by Chelsea fans and has received bullets in the post. This abuse has extended to his brother Rio, the Manchester United defender, and other family members who have received death threats.

There is a lot to love about football but there is an awful lot to loathe. It is a sport that is riddled with such hypocrisy and run by organisations that cause offence to the word organisation.

Remind yourself briefly of the uproar in this country when, despite receiving an almost unbeatable 'technical bid' to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018, the tournament was awarded to Russia with England finishing fourth in the voting process.

Remember the finger pointing? Remember the accusations? Remember The FA getting on their soap box and highlighting the flaws within FIFA and citing Russia's record of racial discrimination?

Cast your mind back to whenever England players have been subjected to racial abuse while away on international duty playing in Spain, Poland, Ukraine... the list goes on. Remember the reaction of The FA? Remember how they insisted that FIFA and UEFA take this issue seriously? Remember how we scoffed at the paltry fines and sanctions that were given?

Now think how hypocritical this all sounds when, yesterday, The FA finds John Terry guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and serves him with a four match ban and a fine of £220,000.

The stage was set for The FA to take the lead and show FIFA, UEFA and the world just how intolerant they are of such discrimination, but they failed horrendously.

Regardless of the differences in the Suarez case, where he was banned for eight games and fined £40,000, this punishment will not act as a deterrent.

It will not inspire those from grass-roots level upwards to speak up against racism. It will not make players, at any level, feel any more protected and it will certainly not make people believe they belong to an organisation that takes racism seriously.

By ignoring the wider ramifications of such a weak sentence, The FA have once again shown that, on the balance of probabilities, they are one of the most spineless governing bodies in the world.