Stop your fans chanting 'Yid Army' or face police complaint, Spurs told to act over anti-Semitic songs by anti-racism body
Tottenham also told to clamp down on away supporters 'hissing'
Club warned: home fans' traditional chant is anti-SemiticSpurs stress 'Y-word' is not used to cause anyone offence
Gary Lineker and David Baddiel back campaign to stop use of the 'Y-word'
Society of Black Lawyers reveal blueprint to kick racism out of football
13:13 GMT, 7 November 2012
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Click here to read: Strictly speaking, we are looking in the wrong place for racism
'Is it any wonder that, in this climate, Ramires of Chelsea believes he heard a white referee, Mark Clattenburg, refer to his black team-mate John Mikel Obi as a ‘monkey’ two weeks ago'
Tottenham have been told to clamp down on their own fans' chanting or face a complaint to the police from the Society of Black Lawyers.
Large numbers of Spurs supporters have historically referred to themselves as the 'Yid Army' but such chants are anti-Semitic and must stop, according to Peter Herbert, the man who lodged a complaint with the Metropolitan Police over referee Mark Clattenburg's alleged abuse of John Obi Mikel.
Herbert is the chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers. He insists that hissing from away fans at White Hart Lane – a reference to the gas chambers used in the Holocaust – is equally unacceptable and will also provoke a complaint from his organisation.
Tottenham have defended their fans' right to use the term 'Yid', stressing that home fans at White Hart Lane 'do not use the term to others to cause any offence'.
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Traditional support: A Tottenham fan (right) cheers on his side and a flag in the home end at White Hart Lane (left). BOTH IMAGES FILE PICS
Warning: The Society for Black Lawyers has urged Tottenham to act against the anti-Semitic chanting
'The club does not tolerate any form of racist or abusive chanting.
'Our guiding principle in respect of
the “Y-word” is based on the point of law itself – the distinguishing
factor is the intent with which it is used ie if it is used with the
deliberate intention to cause offence.
'This has been the basis of
prosecutions of fans of other teams to date. Our fans 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 to others to cause any
offence, they use it a chant amongst themselves.
'The club believes that real
anti-semitic abuse such as hissing to simulate the noise of gas chambers
is the real evil and the real offence. We believe this is the area that
requires a determined and concerted effort from all parties and where
we seek greater support to eradicate.'
SOCIETY OF BLACK LAWYERS' PLAN
A minimum six to nine-month ban for racial abuse, rising to a five-year ban for a third offence
Any fines going directly to Kick It Out to fund grassroots anti-racism initiatives
The creation of representative associations for black players, managers and coaches
Guidance for referees to send off players using racist abuse and the power to call off games where the crowd is using such abuse
A 20 per cent quota at all levels of the FA, PFA, clubs as well as football agents and referees
Racial abuse to be a matter of gross misconduct incorporated into players’ contracts
Clubs to invest in the personal education of all players, including university or college education
Recording referees and assistants during matches to pick up any possible abuse by players.
system for reporting racial incidents to be set up with details of
these incidents, both on and off the pitch, published each year
Herbert told Sportsmail: 'In discussions with members of the
Jewish community, we were made aware that this practice is still
continuing and it has to come to an end.
neither Tottenham FC nor the FA are willing to take a stand then SBL
will report the matter to the Metropolitan Police Service for
investigation and, if necessary, prosecution.
report will be made if this behaviour does not cease by 20 November. We
will have monitors in attendance to observe what occurs.'
A Tottenham club statement read: 'The club does not tolerate any form of racist or abusive chanting.
'Our guiding principle in respect of the “Y-word” is based on the point of law itself – the distinguishing factor is the intent with which it is used ie if it is used with the deliberate intention to cause offence.
'This has been the basis of prosecutions of fans of other teams to date. Our fans 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 to others to cause any offence, they use it a chant amongst themselves.
'The club believes that real anti-semitic abuse such as hissing to simulate the noise of gas chambers is the real evil and the real offence. We believe this is the area that requires a determined and concerted effort from all parties and where we seek greater support to eradicate.'
Former Spurs stars Gary Lineker and Ledley King have previously condemned the mimicking of the gas chambers by away supporters.
Tottenham have traditionally been
well supported by members of the Jewish community. Many fans do not
consider references to their faith as offensive. Others,such as comedian
David Baddiel, however, do.
Last year Baddiel
launched a campaign, supported by Lineker, to stamp out use of the word 'yid' in football
chants which mock Jewish and Tottenham supporters.
The Society of Black Lawyers is involved in talks to create a Black Players’ Association
with some professionals, claiming the football authorities are not doing
enough to represent them or to tackle racism in the sport.
The PFA recently introduced its own six-point action plan but the society says this will prove 'ineffective'.
Herbert added: 'What
we are trying to do is change a culture. What we are saying to Tottenham
is: “Maybe this was okay 50 years ago – but it isn't now.
'Even if it is from Tottenham supporters, it remains casual racism. We
understand it is a difficult, and for some an uncomfortable, stance to
take, but we feel it is the right stance.'
Storm brewing: Referee Mark Clattenburg is under investigation for his clash with John Mikel Obi
High profile: Incidents involving John Terry and Luis Suarez brought focus on racism in football
The Society of Black Lawyers have
published a plan to tackle racism in football and want matches to be
instantly abandoned if there is racial abuse from fans.
The document was published ahead of a meeting between the FA, Professional Footballers’ Association, Premier League and trustees of anti-racism body Kick It Out on Wednesday.
Wednesday's meeting between Kick It Out and a selection of football’s leading authorities is a scheduled get-together of the anti-racism charity’s trustees.
SUPPORTER COMMENT: SORRY BUT THE Y-WORD BELONGS TO US
As a youngster growing up supporting Spurs, it took me some time to realise the word 'yid' was an offensive racial slur. I'd never heard it used in a derogatory sense at White Hart Lane, only ever as a collective term – yid army – and as a positive identifier.
If a player was good, he was a yiddo.
But its significance soon became apparent. Though far from the abhorrent gas chamber hissing of some away fans, it's still sensitive. Context is important, though, and its reclamation as a positive term at the ground should not be ignored.
The Society of Black lawyers says use of the word yid, including the tone adopted by Spurs fans, amounts to casual racism. Perhaps they have a point. Perhaps simply substituting the word would be the answer. But Spurs fans are unlikely to take kindly at being told what to do by an external body, especially as it is largely considered a positive, rather than offensive, chant.
David Baddiel tried to stamp out its use by Tottenham supporters but, despite his own Jewish faith, the views of a Chelsea fan were never likely to be accepted by the Spurs majority.
If the word yid really is to be kicked out of White Hart Lane, it would need concerns to be raised from within the Spurs-supporting community, rather than outside pressures.
Andrew Magee, life-long Spurs supporter