Three men were arrested on suspicion of “racially aggravated public order offences” at Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg between Tottenham and Chelsea at Wembley, the Metropolitan Police said.
The Press Association understands an alleged offence resulting in the arrest of a 17-year-old male was antisemitic. The arrest was made at around 7.40pm, 20 minutes prior to kick-off.
The Met Police’s Football Unit added that two further arrests were made for similar alleged offences.
A statement from the Met Police’s Football Unit on Twitter read: “That’s it for tonight for @SpursOfficial v @ChelseaFC I can report that three males aged 17yrs 20yrs & 23yrs were arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences. A fourth male was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs.”
Tottenham and Chelsea cautioned supporters to behave prior to the match, after recent incidents of discriminatory behaviour.
Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust said: “Antisemitism in and around football matches needs to be stamped out, so CST welcomes these arrests. If found guilty, we hope that strong actions will be visibly taken against the perpetrators.”
Football anti-racism charity Kick It Out said: “Our position on antisemitic chanting at football matches is unequivocal; there is no place for it ,we urge people to report it and will back the authorities to take the strongest possible action against the people who do it”.
Last January, Chelsea launched the ‘Say No to Anti-Semitism’ campaign and in 2010 joined with anti-discrimination group Kick It Out to “try and rid the game of the Y-word”.
However, the waters are muddied by the fact Tottenham supporters use the Y-word in large numbers at matches.
Last week, the World Jewish Congress and the Board of Deputies of British Jews urged Spurs to take a stand against its use. Yet the club maintains the term is not meant to cause offence.
Chelsea supporters’ groups issued reminders on social media asking fans to be on their best behaviour, using the hashtag ChelseaTogether.
A chant of ‘Yids’ was heard in the second minute, but it appeared muted, with more Spurs fans opting to join in further singing of a song incorporating the word in the West Stand after 16 minutes.
Blues fans have been under the spotlight in recent weeks after a number of high-profile incidents, including a derogatory chant about Spurs supporters that featured alleged antisemitic language at a Europa League match in Hungary last month.
And a Spurs fan was banned and fined for throwing a banana skin at Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the north London derby late last year.
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