CST: Do not prosecute Spurs fans for using Y-word

By Marcus Dysch, September 17, 2013
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The Community Security Trust has said it does not back criminal prosecutions for Spurs fans who use the word "Yid" in terrace football chants.

The charity moved to clarify its position following a week of debate on the issue, capped by Prime Minister David Cameron telling the JC that fans should not be prosecuted for using the term unless motivated by hate.

Many Jewish and non-Jewish Tottenham fans refer to themselves as the “Yid army” and to players as “Yiddos”.

The Football Association issued new guidance last week which suggested that fans using the term could be liable to criminal charges.

The FA - supported by CST and the Board of Deputies - said that the word “is likely to be considered offensive by the reasonable observer” and is “inappropriate in a football setting”.

But in a statement issued on Tuesday, CST said it did not believe Spurs fans should be "criminalised or given banning orders for using the Y-word.

"We have consistently said that Spurs fans’ use of the Y-word does not remotely compare with, nor in any way legitimise, the vile and unacceptable antisemitic abuse that is all too often heard from opposing fans."

The charity said that while Spurs fans should not be prosecuted, the Y-word remained "offensive to many Jews both inside and outside the football context.

"Ultimately, ridding football of antisemitism needs to involve Spurs fans voluntarily dropping the Y-word from their songbook."

Mr Cameron had told the JC: “You have to think of the mens rea. There’s a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as Yids and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult.

“You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted — but only when it’s motivated by hate.”

Last updated: 3:29pm, September 17 2013