Tottenham Hotspur fans will not be able to sing about themselves as the "Yid Army" at matches in future because the FA are looking to ban the word as part of plans to eradicate anti-Semitism in football.
The FA have released a statement on the word and its use on their official website this week. It concludes:
The FA considers that the use of the term ‘Yid’ is likely to be considered offensive by the reasonable observer and considers the term to be inappropriate in a football setting.
The FA would encourage fans to avoid using it in any situation.
The term "Yid" and variations such as "Yiddo" take their roots from Germanic slang terms for Jewish people. It has often been used derogatively in football against Spurs fans, who have traditionally had a strong Jewish fanbase.
Big problem with the word 'yid' particularly inside football grounds is that half the people chanting the word aren't even aware of meaning— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) September 11, 2013
Tottenham fans for their part have claimed the term for themselves and regularly both chant it and refer to themselves by the term.
It has caused debate in the past—an article in the New Statesman questioned whether it effectively encouraged an anti-Semitic response—but the FA's edict on the term has now thrown the subject back in the spotlight.
Their statement reflects concern over abuse suffered by Spurs fans last season. As The Associated Press reports:
During a Premier League match, some West Ham fans were heard chanting about Adolf Hitler and hissing, a gesture widely seen as imitating the sound of the gas chambers used during the Holocaust. The FA took no action against Tottenham's London rival.
At a Europa League match in Rome, Lazio fans hurled anti-Semitic chants at the visiting Tottenham fan base, leading to the Italian club being sanctioned by UEFA.
How Spurs fans react to the news—and how stringently the FA's edict is policed—remains to be seen.
The FA's statement confirms that it could be treated as a criminal offence, and accordingly could lead to prosecution or bans from football.
But it is hard to imagine the move being taken well by supporters.
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