Players' union chairman Clarke Carlisle has said the Football Association was "gazumped" by Uefa's proposals for a 10-game ban for racist behaviour.
Europe's governing body has which general secretary Gianni Infantino has described as a "scourge".
Carlisle told BBC Radio Northampton: "That's more what I was expecting from our FA - to lead the way.
"But we've been usurped and that's a little bit embarrassing."
Speaking at the Soccerex event in Manchester on Wednesday, Infantino revealed proposals which include banning players or officials found guilty of racist behaviour and closing part or all of club's stadiums if fans racially abuse players.
in response to Prime Minister David Cameron's demands for tougher action to tackle discrimination, but on a minimum ban.
Northampton Town defender Carlisle, who is an ambassador for campaign group Kick It Out as well as heading the Professional Footballers' Association, said: "After all the the talk, government backing and conferences at Downing Street and an FA paper, I find it a little bit embarrassing that the FA have been gazumped by Uefa on this.
"For all the talk we've had for however long now, we produce a 168-page document and Uefa say lets start with a 10-match ban."
Carlisle praised Uefa's plans, but said further steps, including re-education, were needed.
"The intention to have a starting sanction of 10 matches, that's an outstanding improvement. It signifies they're starting to approach the issue with some kind of seriousness," said the 33-year-old former QPR, Burnley and Watford player.
"I personally believe it shouldn't just be the sanction. There needs to be some kind of re-education of that individual as to why they've incurred that sanction, what the appropriate attitudes and behaviours are and then for that person to join in the initiatives that proliferate that message out in the communities. That could be very powerful."
The debate on racism has intensified this season after AC Milan's Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng led his team off the field during a friendly in Italy against Pro Patria after he was abused by their fans.
In England, Chelsea captain John Terry and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez were both found guilty of racial abuse by the Football Association last year.
Terry, 32, was banned for four matches and fined £220,000 after a verbal exchange with Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a game on 23 October 2011.
Uruguay striker Suarez, 26, was sanctioned following a clash with Manchester United's Patrice Evra during the 1-1 draw at Anfield eight days earlier and was handed an eight-match ban and £40,000 fine.