Tottenham on fans’ use of the Y-word: ‘Time to move on’ | Soccer News

Tottenham have released a statement on their fans’ use of the Y-word, saying “it’s time to move on” by associating the term with the club.

Spurs conducted a review of the use of the Y-word, holding focus groups with some of the club’s fans which ended in the summer of 2020.

Highlighting some of the key findings, Spurs revealed:

  • Members of their fanbase feel uncomfortable with the continued use of the Y-word during games.
  • Supporters who were willing to defend their position on why they use the term expressed openness to its use being curtailed if it offended other supporters.
  • Supporters, especially those of a younger generation, are often unaware of the meaning of the term and its historical context when chanting it.
  • Now, more than ever, is the time to reevaluate and reconsider its continued use.

Spurs said in the statement“We recognize how these members of our fanbase feel and we also believe it’s time to stop associating that term with our club.

“Tottenham continue to refrain from engaging with any social media or bio handles that contain the word Y and they do not allow it to be printed on shirts at official outlets or used in an official club context. .

“The adoption of the Y-word by our supporters in the late 1970s was a positive response to the lack of action by others around this issue. A growing number of our fans now wish to see positive change again with the reduction of its use. , something we welcome and will seek to support.

“We recognize that any reassessment of the use of this term must be a collaborative effort between the club and its fans. We will work to further define the historical context of the term, to explain the offense it can cause and to embrace the times we live in today to show why it can be considered inappropriate, regardless of the context.

“The use of the Y-word by our supporters should never be cited as an excuse for the real evil that is anti-Semitism. The adoption of the term was a direct consequence of the lack of action taken in the past on this topic.”

The use of the Y-word to describe the Jewish people may be considered offensive, but Spurs fans have historically embraced the word in terrace chants.

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Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett has praised Tottenham’s efforts to stamp out the use of the Y-word.

Some Tottenham supporters claim to have “collected” the use of the word from rival supporters, who they say have commonly used the term to insult supporters of the north London club, which has traditionally had a Jewish following.

Baddiel: Confusion the problem behind the deletion of the word Y

Ivor Baddiel, who with his brother David made a documentary called “The Y-word” for the Kick It Out campaign in 2011, said Sky Sports News the use of the Y-word had caused confusion among Tottenham’s fan base, as supporters could face police intervention if they used it outside of a match setting.

He said: “It’s a complex issue, but at the forefront is the terrible confusion that using the word causes. You could be arrested for saying it on the street and then walk 100m, use it in the stadium and not be arrested.

“At worst, there are horrible chants from other clubs, which are absolutely abhorrent. But I would say the confusion is such that even when singing a chant like that, people don’t realize they are offending Jews. , they think they’ve just tried Tottenham.

“The statement is welcome from Tottenham and I applaud it. I think it’s about the fans of Tottenham and other fans taking into account what they have said, reflecting on it and taking this decision themselves.

“It’s difficult for the police, I was watching the game on Wednesday and you could hear it loud in the stadium. I find it upsetting and annoying, but you can’t ban them all or arrest them all.

“My mother was born in Nazi Germany, we lost loved ones in the Holocaust. How can that not be heartbreaking in any context?”

His brother David went further in an interview with Sky News in February 2020 when he questioned Tottenham’s right to reclaim the word, and said the club’s connection to the Jewish community was “mostly mythical”.

He said: “The vast majority of the club’s fans, including those who refer to themselves as Y-words, are not Jewish and therefore have no right of ‘complaint’.

“What this will strangely give relief to is the feeling that Tottenham fans, rather than Jews, ‘own’ this word of racial hatred for Jews, a word that blackshirts have painted on stores of the East End of London.”


In recent years there have been efforts to try to convince Tottenham fans to stop using the term, amid claims it continues to fuel anti-Semitism in football.

In 2013, the Football Association even warned fans that using the word could lead to criminal charges.

Jewish groups have called the word anti-Semitic, regardless of the context in which it is used.

Antisemitism: record number of incidents recorded in 2021

A record number of anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in 2021, ranging from GBH abuses and death threats.

The Community Service Trust (CST), a charity that collects data on anti-Jewish abuse, recorded 2,255 incidents in 2021, up 34% from 1,684 in 2020.

The figures include 176 violent incidents, three of which involved serious bodily harm (GBH) or threat to life.

Mark Gardner, Chief Executive of CST, said: “These record levels of anti-Jewish racism, reported by our Jewish community to CST and the police, show just how difficult the past year has been for Jews across the country. Britain.”

The charity said anti-Semitic incidents rose by a third (33%) in Greater London, while Greater Manchester saw an 86% increase.

Nationally, throughout the year, there were 502 incidents that used far-right or Nazi themes, including 90 where the Holocaust was celebrated.

The number of hate incidents involving schools reached 182, the most reported each year and up from 54 in 2020, including 99 involving students or staff of non-denominational schools, up from 14 in 2020.

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