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Tottenham fans face police action if ‘abusive and outdated’ chant gets sung during matches

Tottenham fans face police action if their ‘abusive and outdated’ chant gets sung during matches, according to reports this weekend.

The Premier League outfit have been urged to take action over the use of the word ‘Yid’ after the Crown Prosecution Service warned that supporters could now face criminal action.

In a letter to Telegraph Sport ahead of Sunday’s match between Spurs and Chelsea, the former FA chairman David Bernstein argues that defending the word as a term of endearment or self-designation is no longer acceptable.

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He adds that football is encouraging its use in a more hostile context if it is not treated in the same way as racist slurs.

The Football Association and the CPS have previously tried to tackle the ‘Y–’ reference in 2013 however charges were eventually dropped against fans who used the term.

Tottenham plan to consult further with supporters this year and there will be an educational campaign about where the word comes from. The Jewish Charity, the Community Security Trust, has often described the word as “an anti-semitic insult”, while Spurs have previously insisted that their fans have never intended to cause offence.

The European anti-racism network ‘Fare’ acknowledged the context of the Tottenham supporters using the word in reference to their own fanbase, but has since told Telegraph Sport that it should now be got rid of.

“By now a campaign to educate people about it and a timeline to have it stopped being sung should have been in place,” said a Fare spokesperson.

“From a policy perspective it clearly falls within the legislation as a ‘racist term’. There should be no legal or operational blockages to it being educated out.”

In 2020, Tottenham Hotspur criticised the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) after it expanded its definition of the word “yid” to include a “supporter of or player for” the football club.

The word, which is also used as an offensive epithet for Jewish people, has been adopted by some Spurs fans as a nickname but use of the term among Jewish and non-Jewish supporters alike has been the subject of controversy in recent years but has been defended as an attempt to reclaim the term from its racist usage by opposing fans.

The OED, has included the word in its a new list of new and updated entries, along with the related term “yiddo”. It said that as well as their racist meanings the words could refer to “a supporter of or player for Tottenham Hotspur football club (traditionally associated with the Jewish community in north and east London).”

It said the words’ use was “originally and frequently derogatory and offensive, though also often as a self-designation.”

In response, Spurs told the Guardian: “As a club we have never accommodated the use of the Y-word on any club channels or in club stores and have always been clear that our fans (both Jewish and gentile) have never used the term with any intent to cause offence. We find the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the word misleading given it fails to distinguish context, and welcome their clarification.”

Asked specifically about Tottenham fans using the word ‘Yid’, a CPS spokesperson said: “Discriminatory chanting has a severe negative impact on football and fans and we are continuing to work with football authorities, clubs, and charities to push this offensive behaviour out of the game.

“Chanting helps create the atmosphere that makes football great but any chants that are racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic could be a hate crime and we will not hesitate to prosecute anyone accused of these actions where there is sufficient evidence and in the public interest.”

The CPS are upping their stance to football chanting in recent weeks – it has warned that the term “rentboy” would be deemed a hate crime – but also stressed that there was more chance of someone being prosecuted if the offence involved hostility.

Spurs statement earlier this month said: “The club is extremely disappointed by homophobic chanting from sections of our support at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

“We work closely with our LGBTQ+ fan group Proud Lilywhites to create a welcoming and inclusive environment at our club and are proud to display the Progress Flag in our stadium on matchdays.

“No one should suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation and/or their gender identity, and we urge supporters not to use this chant.

“Homophobic chanting at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium should be reported by texting HPH and location details to 07537 404821.

“At other stadia, it should be reported to the nearest steward or via the home club’s reporting number.

“There is no place for discrimination at Tottenham Hotspur.”

Proud Lilywhites also appealed to supporters to engage their brains before singing the chant.

A statement read: “We know most fans don’t sing this with any intent to discriminate, ostracise or demean us but the impact it has shouldn’t be underestimated.

“It has been used to victimise young gay men for years.

“Think before you chant, please. We’re Spurs and we’re better than this.”

Charity Kick it Out have seen a rise in complaints over the “rent boy” term this campaign, saying that “it is unquestionably homophobic and extremely offensive to the LGBTQ+ community, who make up such an important part of our game”.

Kick It Out launch updated version of reporting application - Fare network

Twitter users reacted as Tottenham fans face police action if their ‘abusive and outdated’ chant gets sung during matches…

@ALSPURS: That will be impossible to enforce. This has divided opinion for years. I’m from a generation that fully understands the evil connotations of the word. I understand the context in which it’s sung, I supported it originally but I don’t like it & think it’s time to stop.

@Terry01711833: Not a criminal action if they are referring to themselves. They aren’t abusing anyone.

@locelso_lloris1: use the same energy for the rival fans that sing it as us then as an actual insult

@VictorMeldrew17: The Yid chant has been part of the crowd banter for over 60 years. I remember it during the 60’s double era. It’s not offensive, it’s our right to chant it. I’m Jewish and I’m not offended by it. #thfc

@ERIKLEREBIRTH: They tried to stop us look what it did

@SpursThebest15: Whatever your view on it is gonna be quite hard to ban 60,000 people a week

@JH_THFC: You ain’t stopping a whole stadium singing it haha

@JaH2020c: Been hearing this for a decade. Until the club are stronger on it, it will keep happening. Whenever any of us raise it we just get told we’re not proper Spurs fans. It’s knackering.

@LewisTHFC_: So Holocaust chants are okay, but being proud about our Jewish roots isn’t? Got it

@Adam_campbell91: Ridiculous, the history of its usage for Tottenham is based completely on solidarity with the large Jewish community that make up spurs fans. The whole point is to help make those that were being faced with antisemitic abuse at matches feel solidarity and welcome. Context matters

@alexdeveysmith: How can they take action though, it’s now engrained into the club whether that’s right or not and they cannot ban every fan.

@JaiP72: Can’t stop me singing it.

@xAlexTHFC: Good luck arresting 60,000 people, mugs

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