Spurs fans will not face arrest for Y-word chants, police say

By Marcus Dysch and Daniel Easterman, June 18, 2014
Tottenham Hotspur fans supporting the Premier League side (Photo: PA)

Tottenham Hotspur fans supporting the Premier League side (Photo: PA)

Spurs fans who use the term "yid" are unlikely to face criminal prosecution, police have conceded.

Constable Steve Payne told a meeting of Tottenham Hotspur fans that using the Y-word was no longer an arrestable offence.

But he also said that fans could still face charges if a complaint was made that the term had been used in a pejorative way.

PC Payne, of the Metropolitan Police's Football Intelligence Unit, was speaking at a meeting held by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust on Monday last week.

He said the Met had come under pressure to arrest those using the term at Spurs' White Hart Lane stadium.

PC Payne confirmed that action would be taken against football fans directing antisemitic chants at Spurs supporters, but said there was a clear difference between offensive songs and the Spurs' fans own use of the Y-word.

Scotland Yard today said there had been no change in its policy on the issue and that PC Payne had not been authorised to make the remarks.

A spokesman said: "The position of the Metropolitan Police remains the same. Where threatening or abusive comments are made in the presence of someone who is harassed, alarmed or distressed then we will take action.

"To achieve a successful prosecution we would require the victim of the behaviour to make a complaint and a statement."

Three Spurs fans were arrested and charged earlier this year on suspicion of using the Y-word, but the case was later dropped before it came to court.

Some supporters of Tottenham, a club with a large Jewish fanbase, refer to themselves as the "Yid Army".

The Football Association threw use of the Y-word into doubt last year when it declared that it could amount to a criminal offence and leave fans liable to prosecution.

Last updated: 6:49pm, June 18 2014