Police are assessing whether Twitter users who posted a series of antisemitic messages after the FA Cup derby between Arsenal and Tottenham should face criminal charges.
A number of offensive tweets – most referring to the Holocaust – from fans of both clubs were highlighted following a bad-tempered match at the Emirates Stadium in north London on Saturday.
During the game coins were thrown by Spurs fans at Arsenal forward Theo Walcott, who responded by showing a “2-0” gesture to the away supporters.
After the match, an account using the name Dylan Dixon published a message asking “how many Jews survived the gas chambers at Auschwitz?” alongside an image of Walcott’s “zero” sign.
He later apologised and wrote: “There's always going to be banter between Arsenal and Spurs fans, I took it too far and hold my hands up to that.”
Reece Joy tweeted: “Every Tottenham fan can be put back in the gas chambers and gassed to death! Small club, s*** club always in Arsenal’s shadows.”
His account was later deleted.
The Metropolitan Police’s football unit said on Tuesday it was aware of the messages and an “assessment” was under way.
The Community Security Trust, which monitors antisemitism, said it had been “really struck” by the number of people who reported the offensive tweets on Monday evening, both to the CST’s Twitter account and also in formal email complaints.
A CST spokesman said: “We thank the many people who forwarded these antisemitic tweets to us, and also to the police.
“It is depressing to see how social media is repeatedly used to spread this kind of stupid hatred. The only positive is that the perpetrators received so much direct criticism that in most cases they quickly removed the tweets.”
Kick It Out, an organisation working to combat racism in football, also reported the tweets to police.