Former Chelsea star Paul Elliot has argued that a lot of positives can come out of the current racism problems at Euro 2012, despite the issue continuing to come up after the tournament began.

Controversy surrounded UEFA choosing to hold the Euros in Poland and the Ukraine, with the countries facing deep-seeded problems of racial vilification at football matches in particular.

Recent BBC program Panorama highlighted these issues at a host of games around the countries, but the former Chelsea defender believes that talking about this issue is a very positive step towards solving it.

"This is a campaign I've been involved in for the best part of 25 years and in my generation we had to put up with it - put up and shut up - because there was no law, no legislation," Elliot said at the launch for anti racism group FARE in Warsaw.

"We all get affected by different things in different ways so when I receive monkey chants, booing and in extreme cases banana throwing there's nothing more horrific because of how it makes you feel.

"But I think that was the negative, what's the positive? How you deal with it, how you move forward, how you challenge it. And that has to be embraced, not by individuals but by the footballing family.

"What we have here in Poland and the Ukraine is a fantastic opportunity to use the power of this wonderful game to address many social issues - not just anti-racism, though anti-racism is included in that process.

Paul Elliot has been a spokesperson for UEFA's Respect campaign as well as FARE.

"And that's what the power of football does, if it's used as a social tool to engage and bring people together like no other."

Elliot, who played for Chelsea in the 1990s as well as in Italy and Scotland, said that the United Kingdom have shown that racism can be eradicated from mainstream sport with the right processes.

"In the UK I have to say in the 1970s and 1980s it was the ugliest place to have been - my family were first generation migrants from Jamaica," he explained.

"But what has happened is there's been positive progress, there's been leadership, but we also have 21st century challenges. As an Englishman we've got our challenges at home, and I want to focus on our challenges at home, make a positive contribution, but coming here as a FARE ambassador I want to support the good work that's being done here because it's always easy to talk about the negative stuff."

UEFA are currently investigating accusations of racism made against Russian and Spanish football fans after the first round of games came to an end last night.

Meanwhile, England and Chelsea defender John Terry is currently charged with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand in a Premier League match, and the FA stripped him of international captaincy as a result.