Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell believes abuse aimed at players and managers is an issue of human rights - and he has called for the Football Association to act.
Campbell was targeted by Tottenham fans at the weekend - still bearing an apparent grudge over his move from White Hart Lane to rivals Arsenal six years ago - while Pompey boss Harry Redknapp was recently abused by Aston Villa fans.
'If this happened on the street, you would be arrested,' the England centre-half told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
'This is the 21st century, and this is a human rights situation where sportsmen and managers are trying to do their job professionally and people are abusing them verbally. It has gone too far.'
Celtic boss Gordon Strachan is another figure who has spoken about the problem, while Glenn Roeder has described the perpetrators as 'low lives'.
The Norwich manager told the Eastern Daily Press: 'I had it again at Colchester on Saturday. They're real `saddos' - low lives.
'Fortunately, I don't have to live my life through people like that.
'I keep reminding myself that those `saddos' pay my wages.
'Harry Redknapp was right when he said it was filth. Animals don't behave like that.'
Campbell, 33, believes the FA can do more to tackle the problem.
'They have let us down because they have allowed this to continue, sat idle, head in the sand, and tried to brush it under the carpet,' he added.
The FA insist they are treating the problem seriously.
'There is legislation in place to deal with abusive, threatening and racist behaviour by ejecting and arresting offending individuals. Put simply, it is against the law,' a spokesman said.
'The FA lobbied hard for such tough policies. It is for individual clubs - working with the police if necessary - to enforce these laws.
'At Wembley games, which the FA are responsible for, people have been ejected and arrested for this type of behaviour.
'The FA supports football banning orders against anyone arrested for violent or racist behaviour, and there were 3,500 in place before last year's World Cup.
'This is not a direct issue for the FA, but we do a lot of work to prevent crowd abuse - constantly working with the Home Office, police and clubs.'