Kevin Kilbane has complained to the Football Association over offensive chants allegedly aimed toward Tottenham striker Harry Kane by a section of West Ham supporters during the London derby clash on Sunday.
According to reports, former Republic of Ireland international Kilbane was moved to act after apparently being informed by a friend of a song that was offensive towards those suffering from learning difficulties.
"I am sure they understand they are causing offence," Kilbane, whose daughter Elsie suffers from Down's syndrome, was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
"You cannot sweep it under the carpet and label it as ignorance. It is visible and clear and, like racist or homophobic chanting, it is intended to cause offence. I want to be able to take my kids to football matches and when Elsie gets older she will understand about her condition and I would not want her to hear that kind of chanting. If her sister Isla heard it, she would be devastated too, as my friend's sons were.
"I spoke to him and he was extremely upset and I felt I had to report it. No family should have to put up with it at football matches. It is also extremely offensive towards Harry Kane, who is only a young lad, starting out in the game and who does not deserve that kind of disgusting abuse just because he is a footballer."
Kilbane, who represented a number of Premier League clubs during a 17-year playing career and also won 110 senior international caps before taking up a role as a pundit following his retirement in 2012, claimed he had been informed by the FA that they would investigate the incident.
He added: "This is a wider society problem, not just a problem with football, and idiots are using football as a tool to show their ignorance and discrimination. I have spoken to the FA and they have assured me they will investigate it thoroughly. In all my time playing and watching football I have never heard this before. Hopefully we can do something to make sure it isn't again and this awful chant does not spread."
These allegations are the latest in what has been a difficult week for English football. As well as the shocking incident in which a group of Chelsea supporters were secretly filmed appearing to racially abuse a black man on the Paris Metro ahead of the club's Champions League tie with PSG last Tuesday, another damning video emerged over the weekend that supposedly depicted a group of West Ham fans engaging in anti-Semitic chanting on a train as it passed through the north London district of Stamford Hill.