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Totennham have defended their fans over 'race' chant

Football News 24/7
Totennham have defended their fans after the Society of Black Lawyers threatened to make a complaint to police over their claims anti-Semitic abuse is taking place at White Hart Lane. The have given the club  a deadline of 20 November to act or face official complaints to the Police.

That threat in itself looks sure to bring the issue to Police attention in any event.

Although widely recognised as an insult, some Spurs fans proudly call themselves "Yids" or "Yiddos" and chant "Yid army" at games as an act of defiance to those who discriminate against the club's large Jewish following.

Peter Herbert, who chairs the Society of Black Lawyers says this is not acceptable. He said: "It does not make a difference if it is Tottenham fans doing the chants or away fans - if they continue to do it we will report it to the police.

"There has to be zero tolerance and if that catches out Spurs then so be it."

Asked about Jewish fans themselves singing the chant, he said: "That's not acceptable either."

He added: "If neither Tottenham FC nor the FA are willing to take a stand then SBL will report the matter to the Metropolitan Police Service for investigation and, if necessary, prosecution.

"The report will be made if this behaviour does not cease by 20 November. We will have monitors in attendance to observe what occurs."

Spurs responded to Herbert's claims by defending their supporters and pointing out that their fans have in the past been subjected to taunts about the Holocaust.

"Our position on this topic is very clear," a Tottenham statement read.

"The club does not tolerate any form of racist or abusive chanting.

"Our guiding principle in respect of the 'Y-word' is based on the point of law itself - the distinguishing factor is the intent with which it is used i.e. if it is used with the deliberate intention to cause offence. This has been the basis of prosecutions of fans of other teams to date.

"Our fans adopted the chant as a defence mechanism in order to own the term and thereby deflect anti-Semitic abuse. They do not use the term to others to cause any offence, they use it a chant amongst themselves.

"The club believes that real anti-Semitic abuse such as hissing to simulate the noise of gas chambers is the real evil and the real offence. We believe this is the area that requires a determined and concerted effort from all parties and where we seek greater support to eradicate."

Oldham footballer Dean Furman, who is Jewish, has told BBC Sport there should be a "zero tolerance" approach and fans using the chant should be immediately thrown out of stadiums.

But Piara Powar, executive director of the Football Against Racism in Europe organisation, said: "I think this is where Peter Herbert and the Society of Black Lawyers are naive. They perhaps don't know football."

KN

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