PARIS (AP) — Soccer fans in England and the rest of Europe are wondering these days if racism that has long plagued the game is surging once again.

John Terry, who captains both his club, Chelsea, and the English national team was scheduled to appear at a London courthouse to face a criminal charge that he abused a black opponent with a torrent of vile, racially insulting language. Terry insists the whole affair is a misunderstanding.

Still, this and other incidents in England and elsewhere in Europe are raising questions about whether efforts to stamp out racist behavior in the world's No. 1 sport have taken a big step backward after having made so many strides forward in the past decade or more.