Spurs move one step closer to banning Y-word
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Spurs move one step closer to banning Y-word

North London club completes next stage of review in to fans' use of controversial term, amid calls by anti-racism groups for it to be consigned to history

Tottenham Hotspur fans holding a sign with the term 'Yids' in the stands during the Capital One Cup Semi Final, Second Leg at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. (Photo credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.)
Tottenham Hotspur fans holding a sign with the term 'Yids' in the stands during the Capital One Cup Semi Final, Second Leg at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. (Photo credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.)

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has said it is moving to the second stage of its review of fans’ use of the Y-word during matches, after it conducted a far-reaching survey of supporters’ thoughts last year.

A spokesman said: “We have moved onto the second stage, which is focus groups, and we shall be able to provide further updates once that’s concluded.

Spurs fans have long identified as, and chanted, ‘the Yid Army’ at matches in recognition of the north London club’s Jewish roots, particularly representing the growth of the Jewish community in Tottenham in the early 20th century.

Some anti-racism groups say the phrase is derogatory and offensive and should now be consigned to history, with Action Against Discrimination accusing Spurs of “obviating its responsibility” by not banning it, but in the stands feelings are mixed.

In October last year the club said it had received a “significant response” with 23,000 returned consultation questionnaires, and in December it revealed the findings, which showed that large numbers of Jewish fans did not like the use of the term.

However, there are also many Jewish fans who argue that the term is not racist but sung with pride, and many others who say that while they would prefer the term not be used, they do not support a ban.

The consultation was sent to all Spurs members, affiliates, and season ticket holders, 11 percent of whom are Jewish. The club said it represented “a substantial, robust and representative set of responses from across our fan-base”.

The club said fans’ use of the term in chants was “to deflect antisemitic abuse” they received from rival fans in the 1970s and 80s but acknowledged that there was now less agreement as to whether that is still the case today.

“It would appear that the history and the motivations behind why fans adopted the term in the first place are being lost over time, with many fans today using it solely as a means to identify themselves as a Spurs supporter,” said the club.

The club also said almost half of the survey respondents felt fans’ use of the Y-word “contributed to a lack of clarity in terms of what is now considered antisemitic abuse”.

On its next steps, the club said: “We pride ourselves on being an inclusive and forward-thinking Club and these findings indicate the awareness our fans have of current sensitivities and a willingness to reconsider the appropriateness of the continued use of this term.”

It added that there would now be “a series of focus groups, giving supporters the chance to meet and exchange opinions with fellow fans with views from across the spectrum on this matter”.

 

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