Nigel Farage has today backed calls for Spurs and West Ham fans to avoid chanting ‘Yid’ at this weekend’s London derby.
His comments came after the Metropolitan Police said fans could be arrested if they use the term during Sunday’s match at White Hart Lane. Scotland Yard said both sets of supporters will be watched by officers and warned them they may be committing an offence if they use the word.
Asked during a phone-in on Nick Ferrari’s breakfast show on LBC whether it was fair that supporters had been told they can’t chant the word, the UKIP leader said unequivocally: “Yes. It’s pretty offensive. Football has changed and improved massively over the last couple of decades. We want people to have fun but clearly a chant like that is just insulting and nasty.”
The term has been much debated over recent weeks after the Football Association made clear it viewed the word as offensive and warning that fans using it could face banning orders or even arrest. The Met backed the idea of a crackdown in a robust statement on Thursday.
Spurs fans use the word Yid to describe themselves and their north London team. However, the word is also used by opposing sets of supporters to taunt the Lilywhites.
Prime Minister David Cameron recently weighed into the debate when he said there’s a difference between Spurs fans themselves as Yids and being called a Yid as an insult.
Comedian David Baddiel – a Chelsea fan – has long campaigned for fans to stop using the term.
Scotland Yard said its officers will be taking action to “stamp out” chants featuring the word, and said that while it has historically been perceived by some as acceptable, it causes “harassment, alarm or distress to others”.
Chief superintendent Mick Johnson, the match commander on Sunday, said, “This topic has been debated at length but our position is clear, racism and offensive language have no place in football or indeed in society.
“Those supporters who engage in such behaviour should be under no illusion that they may be committing an offence and may be liable to a warning or be arrested.”
The London derby game kicks off at 4pm on Sunday.