LONDON (Reuters) - Fans of Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur will no longer be threatened with prosecution if they chant the word “Yid” at matches, the Metropolitan Police said on Wednesday.
The “Yid Army” has chant has become a feature of matches at the club’s White Hart Lane stadium, which is located near one of London’s largest Jewish areas, and at away matches.
“Yiddo” is also regularly heard at matches involving Tottenham, whose fans argue that the terms are used as a ‘badge of honour’ in response to anti-Semitic behaviour from rival fans rather than in a derogatory way.
Some in the Jewish community deem the word, which is Yiddish for ‘Jew’, offensive and say it could encourage anti-Semitic chants by opposition fans.
The Football Association last year warned that its use could lead to prosecution and a ban on attending matches.
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust (THST) asked the police for their position on the term in a police and safety forum meeting earlier this month, The Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday.
Constable Steve Payne, Football Intelligence Officer for the police, said songs of an anti-Semitic nature directed at Spurs fans were an offence, but were different to chants sung by Spurs fans containing the word, which were deemed not to be.
Fans could still be arrested for using the term if a complaint was made against them.
Last season eight fans were arrested at the club’s White Hart Lane ground for racially aggregated offences including three for using the ‘Yid’ term, although in March the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued cases against the trio.
Britain’s 260,000-strong Jewish community is Europe’s second largest and the world’s fifth biggest. Many Jews have historically settled in north London, the home of Tottenham.
Reporting by Josh Reich; editing by Martyn Herman