Premier League

Tottenham to poll fans over Y-word

Tottenham fans enjoy a drink prior to the 2-0 victory against Norwich.
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Tottenham are planning to ask their fans if they think the time has come to stop chanting the Y-word.

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For years Tottenham, who have a strong Jewish following, have been on the receiving end of cruel anti-Semitic abuse from opposition fans.

In an act of defiance, some fans of the north London club have coined the word "Yid" themselves, and chants of "Yids", "Yid Army" and "Yiddos" are regularly sung on the home terraces at White Hart Lane.

Last Monday the Football Association issued a statement warning supporters the use of such words could result in either a banning order or even criminal prosecution.

Tottenham responded by saying they would consult with their fans on the matter, and it has now emerged they will do so in the form of a questionnaire that will be sent out to all season-ticket holders.

"There is a document that Spurs will be sending out to season-ticket holders in due course," Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust chairman Darren Alexander said.

"It's a questionnaire, and basically what the club want to ascertain is do the fans think now is the right time to be stop using this identity.

"If that comes back and a clear majority of fans think: yes, now is the time, then we move forward and we will work actively with the club if they want us to and we will think about how is best to do that."

Tottenham fans reacted defiantly to the FA's statement on Saturday as they chanted "Yid Army" and "We'll sing what we want" throughout the 2-0 win over Norwich.

The same happened last season after Peter Herbert, the head of the Society of Black Lawyers, threatened to report anyone using the phrase to the police.

The THST is unhappy with the way that English football's governing body has brought the issue back on to the agenda, and it insists the fans will be the only ones who decide whether it is time to drop the chants.

"If Spurs fans genuinely are going to stop using this word then it should be our decision," Alexander said.

"It shouldn't be something that is trying to be forced on us by the FA or Peter Herbert.

"There was a degree of defiance on Saturday and that was always going to happen with the way that the FA has gone about this.

"This is something I have been dealing with for seven years and all of a sudden the FA have gone out on a limb by issuing this statement without proper consultation with the club or the fans.

"There is always going to be the idea among the fans that they are picking on us and that is why that act of defiance happened."

The FA's warning that any fan who chants the Y-word could be prosecuted under criminal law is muddied by the fact that police would have to prove the person who chants the phrase did so with the intention to cause offence.

"I know it is offensive to some Jewish people, but our focus is the legality of what the FA has announced this week," Alexander said.

"As far as we are concerned and as far as the police are concerned, unless there is an intent to offend, then you can't be prosecuted.

"We sincerely believe that no Spurs fan ever uses the Y-word or shouts Yid Army in an effort to offend anyone."

The FA has not responded to requests for a comment on the matter.

It is understood that Tottenham have been consulting fans over the matter for a while and the club are insistent that any survey of opinion has not come about as a result of the FA's statement.

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