Well, I predict that this will provoke a good discussion.
Peter Herbert, of the Society of Black Lawyers, is proposing to make a complaint to the police, if Tottenham Hotspur Football Club do not prevent their fans from chanting “Yiddo“.
The head of the Society of Black Lawyers says he will complain formally to police if Spurs fail to take action within a fortnight to stop the chants.
In a statement, Spurs said their fans used the term as a “defence mechanism” against anti-Semitism from rivals.
But Peter Herbert said this “wouldn’t make sense to a six-year-old”.
Oldham footballer Dean Furman, who is Jewish, has also told BBC Sport there should be a “zero tolerance” approach and fans using the chant should be immediately thrown out of stadiums.However, Piara Powar, executive director of the Football Against Racism in Europe organisation, has criticised Herbert for being naive and questioned whether he properly understands football.
Some Tottenham fans have historically referred to themselves as the “Yid Army”, in reference to the club’s Jewish supporters.
The term is used in a chant by some fans at White Hart Lane and can often be seen on flags and banners at the ground.
But Herbert told BBC Sport: “Clearly Tottenham have a distance to travel before they learn of the offence that is being caused.
“If you had a group of Afro-Caribbean supporters using the ‘N-word’, even as a ‘defence mechanism’, it would clearly be completely unacceptable. There are young supporters present when the chants are used.
“Use of the word, even in this way, could be seen by some as justifying other people using the term.”
He has warned the north London club that unless they take action by 20 November, he will report “a racist incident” to the Metropolitan Police.
This is what Spurs say:
Earlier on Wednesday, Spurs released a statement arguing that “real anti-Semitic abuse, such as hissing to simulate the noise of gas chambers, is the real evil and the real offence”.
It continued: “Our fans adopted the chant as a defence mechanism in order to own the term and thereby deflect anti-Semitic abuse. Our position on this topic is very clear. The club does not tolerate any form of racist or abusive chanting.
“Our guiding principle in respect of the ‘Y-word’ is based on the point of law itself – the distinguishing factor is the intent with which it is used, ie if it is used with the deliberate intention to cause offence. This has been the basis of prosecutions of fans of other teams to date.
“They do not use the term to others to cause any offence, they use it a chant amongst themselves.
“We believe this is the area that requires a determined and concerted effort from all parties and where we seek greater support to eradicate.”
Furman, a Jewish player for Oldham disagrees:
Oldham and South Africa midfielder Furman backed Herbert by saying the term should not be used at all.
“I understand that it can be used as a nickname in some quarters, but if it’s important to stop the use of the word then you can’t use it either way,” he told BBC Sport.
“You can’t use it as a nickname or a chant for Tottenham because abusive chants will come back. The more they use it, the more opposition fans will use it. If it is banned altogether then hopefully we won’t get the abuse at all. It needs to be tackled in the same way as racist chanting.“The sanctions need to be high and then it will be stamped out of the game for good. We need zero tolerance.”
“The anti-Semitic abuse is sung on the terraces and it’s vital that anyone caught singing these chants is immediately removed from the stadium.
“People will be singing those songs without the knowledge of what went on in the Holocaust, for instance. Knowledge is everything and the sooner we can get these songs stamped out of our game the better.”
The “Y Word” issue was raised last year, by The CST, Kick It Out, and David and Ivor Baddiel, who made a short film on the subject:
CST and Maccabi GB have joined with Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, to make a new film aimed at tackling anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish abuse in football.
The film, entitled The Y-Word, has been written and produced by David and Ivor Baddiel and made by Fahrenheit Films. It is also supported by The Shoresh Foundation.
“The film is not intended to censor football fans,” said David. “It’s simply to raise awareness that the y-word is – and has been for many, many years – a race hate word. It’s our belief that some football fans may not even realise this, and the film is designed therefore to inform and raise debate.”
The minute-long film explores the use of the word ‘Yid’ by football supporters. Gary Lineker, Frank Lampard, Ledley King, England women’s star Rachel Yankey and Zesh Rehman, the Premier League’s first British Asian player, also feature in the film.
Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, said: “This film will form a key part of the organisation’s education work on matters around anti-Semitism.”
Have a watch:
So go on, knock yourself out.
Metropolitan Police have reassured Tottenham they will NOT face prosecution over their own supporters use of the word ‘Yid’ in matchday chants.
Spurs officials have contacted London’s police force to clarify whether the club’s supporters could be investigated for making racial slurs given the anti-Semitic nature of the word ‘Yid’.
Club supporters often sing songs featuring the expression, and on Thursday the club released a statement defending their fans right to use the expression.
And the Met have advised Tottenham chants such as ‘Yid Army’ will not lead to prosecution on the basis that it is used with no ‘deliberate intention to cause offence’.