Jeffrey Webb said discrimination was overt and highlighted the lack of black and ethnic minority people in boardrooms and dugouts.
In doing so he has joined the call for greater diversity in English football and for a football version of the NFL’s ‘Rooney Rule’ to support the employment of minority coaches in football to be introduced.
Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has described racism as a “hidden problem” but Webb said: “It’s not hidden. It’s hidden from a discussion standpoint. No-one wants to deal with it.”
Webb, who is also a FIFA vice-president and head of the confederation covering the Caribbean, North and Central America, used Chelsea youth coach Eddie Newton as an example of the problem.
Newton, 42, assistant manager under Robert di Matteo when Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012, is not getting managerial interviews.
Webb added: “I hosted a dinner a few months ago, last time I was here. I met a young guy coaching at Chelsea, assistant coach, won a Champions League final, doing well.
“Can’t even get an interview. Eddie Newton. I’m not talking about getting a job, getting an interview. That’s not hidden. That’s right in front of your face.
“I don’t know how it could be hidden. You have 92 clubs, you have two coaches of colour. How many board members or executives are in various club positions or at the FA, in Uefa? So, it’s not hidden.”
Webb said: “In this day and time, in this era, in this century, should we really be having to mandate opportunities for qualified individuals? Sadly, the answer is yes.”
He went on to raise questions of the role of American owners of Premier League clubs, who include the Glazers at United, Stan Kroenke at Arsenal and John W Henry at Liverpool.
Webb said: “How many American owners do we have from English Premier League clubs in the UK? So, why have certain standards here and then, of course, in the US, in the NFL leagues, where you live, where you conduct business, you live by different standards? Why?”