• Football

PM backs Spurs fans over 'Y-word'

ESPN staff
September 17, 2013
David Cameron believes Tottenham fans' use of the 'Y-word' is 'not motivated by hate' © Getty Images

David Cameron has said Tottenham fans should be allowed to use the word "Yid" in chants because what they are chanting is not motivated by hate.

The Prime Minister's comments came after the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust said it would seek legal advice after the Football Association warned that the use of the term could result in criminal charges.

Some Tottenham fans have adopted the chant "Yid Army" in reference to the club's Jewish roots and in response to anti-Semitism from other supporters, and the FA has acknowledged they use the term as a "badge of honour".

However, English football's governing body said the term was "derogatory and offensive".

"The FA considers that the use of the term 'Yid' is likely to be considered offensive by the reasonable observer and considers the term to be inappropriate in a football setting," an FA statement read.

"Use of the term in a public setting could amount to a criminal offence, and leave those fans liable to prosecution and potentially a lengthy football banning order."

A statement from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust read: "Whilst we fully recognise that Spurs fans' use of the 'Y word' and associated identity may have caused some upset to members of the Jewish community, we sincerely believe that no Spurs fan uses the term in a malicious way.

"THST believes that rather than focus on Tottenham Hotspur fans using the term, more work needs to be done to educate supporters of other clubs as to why it is completely unacceptable for them to continue to sing songs and chants that do not focus solely on Spurs fans but slur the Jewish community as a whole.

"Our view has always been that, should Spurs fans' use of the 'Yid' identity come to an end, this should be as a result of the feeling amongst the Spurs community that it was time to naturally move on."

And Cameron told The Jewish Chronicle there was "a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as Yids and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult".

He said: "You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted - but only when it's motivated by hate."

West Ham's match at White Hart Lane in November last year was marred by anti-Semitic chants, although no action was taken by the FA following an investigation in March.

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