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Football Association warns Tottenham Hotspur fans against using derogatory term for Jews
Spurs fans could face criminal charges if they use the word ‘yid’ at football matches,the sport’s governing has warned.
The Football Association says it considers the word offensive as it is a derogatory term for Jewish people and warned Tottenham Hotspur fans against using it.
In statement, the FA general secretary Alex Horne said the word is likely to be considered offensive to a reasonable observer and that the term is “inappropriate in a football setting”.
He also warned that using the term in public could amount to a criminal offence and leave fans who use it liable to prosecution and potentially a lengthy football banning order.
The FA added that the abuse has been "clouded" by Spurs fans who call themselves the ‘Yid Army’ – as a large part of the club’s fan base is from Jewish communities in London.
A spokesman from the north London club said it was “acutely” aware of the sensitivity of the issue and said fans who use the word do not use it to cause deliberate offence.
He said: “Our fans historically adopted the chant as a defence mechanism in order to own the term and thereby deflect anti-Semitic abuse.
“They do not use the term with any deliberate intent to cause offence.”
During the 2012-13 football season there were a number of incidents where Tottenham fans were targeted by far-right activists in Europe and were subjected to anti-Semitic abuse by opposition fans.
Since then there has been debate on whether or not the word plays a role in deflecting or attracting abuse and whether it is likely to unintentionally offend others.
The Spurs spokesman added: "We recognise that this is a complex debate and that, in the interests of encouraging a positive and safe environment for all supporters, consideration should be given to the appropriateness and suitability of its continued use.
"We are already in the process of engaging with our fans and shall be consulting more widely in due course."
The Haringey Independent is awaiting a comment from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust.
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