North London’s Tottenham Hotspur football club has stated that it is to reassess the usage of the word “Yid” after holding focus groups on the matter.
The club, after conducting the first stage of its consultation with supporters in 2019, which found that 94% of the 23,000 respondents acknowledged that the word could be considered a racist term against a Jewish person, concluded its study in the summer of 2020.
Results from three focus groups were published. The club has stated that, from these results, it found that Spurs’ supporters who continued using the term would be open to reducing their usage of it if offence is being caused and that younger fans were less likely to understand the historical context and controversial nature of the word.
The club said in its statement: “It is clear the use of this term does not always make this possible, regardless of context and intention, and that there is a growing desire and acknowledgment from supporters that the Y-word should be used less or stop being used altogether. We recognise how these members of our fanbase feel and we also believe it is time to move on from associating this term with our Club.”
It added: “We acknowledge that any reassessment of the use of this term needs to be a collaborative effort between the Club and its fans. We shall be working to further outline the historical context of the term, to explain the offence it can cause and to embrace the times in which we now live to show why it can be considered inappropriate, regardless of context. There is some great work being undertaken in relation to wider anti-racism and anti-homophobia initiatives already.”
Concluding, the club said that in light of the work being undertaken to tackle racism and homophobia in football, it felt that “a similar approach is needed to address antisemitism, a sentiment that was also strongly borne out in our fan focus group work,” before stating that “Antisemitism remains a serious issue in football and more needs to be done to combat it. We believe that antisemitic abuse must be given the same zero tolerance that other forms of discriminatory behaviour receive. It should not be left to a minority in football to address and lead on this.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “We applaud Tottenham for tackling this sensitive issue. Clearly, most Spurs fans using this term are doing so without malice, as a way of showing solidarity with their team. But more and more fans from other clubs are using the term as a form of abuse towards Spurs players, staff and fans, and are dangerously conflating their adversarial view of Tottenham with their perception of the Jewish community. This report, which points to a gradual phasing out of the use of the word in stadium chanting, is to be welcomed. In the meantime, other football clubs must urgently clamp down on the use of the phrase by their supporters as a form of abuse towards Spurs fans and as a racist epithet against ordinary Jews.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism recently produced an Instagram post detailing recent incidents of antisemitism in football.