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Tottenham call for fans to ‘move on’ from the Y-word

The club’s stance has been welcomed by anti-discrimination charities.

File pic.
File pic.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

LEADING ANTI-DISCRIMINATION charities have welcomed Tottenham’s desire to “move on” from the Y-word being associated with the club.

Spurs fans have traditionally used the word, which is seen as anti-Semitic, as a way of standing up to abuse that began in the late 1970s and it is still used commonly at games today.

The club engaged in consultation with the fans over its use at the end of 2019 and have now delivered its findings following a delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying that it is no longer possible for supporters to feel safe in the stadium while the word is being used.

Anti-Semitism charity Community Security Trust agrees with Tottenham’s stance and would be willing to help implement it.

“We welcome and totally support Tottenham’s desire to move forward,” director of policy Dave Rich told the PA news agency.

“It is a term that just does not belong in modern-day football.

“There are Spurs fans who have the opinion that the word stands up to abuse, but there are others that recognise it is time for the club to move on and there are others who really don’t like it.

“Times have moved on now, there is a lot less racist abuse directed at Spurs fans in football grounds than there used to be, it still happens but less, and the punishment is much stronger.

“It is so incongruous to see Spurs players taking the knee before the match in opposition to racism and then when the match starts you have the Y-word, which is in any other context anti-Semitic abuse, ringing around the stadium.

“I think the club are actually right to take the position. We would absolutely help the club in terms of education and supporting fans who are upset by it.

“I think the club recognise you can’t tell your fans what to do, they will do the exact opposite. The way the club are trying to do it in consultation with the fanbase and try to bring them with it is the right way to do it.

“That way has more chance of success than taking a really hard line of threatening bans, which is not something we have ever advocated.

“We have always said this has to be a voluntary move by the club and fans to move on and leave it in the past where it belongs.”

Kick It Out has also backed Tottenham’s stance.

Lord Mann, the charity’s Anti-Semitism Ambassador, said in a statement released to the PA news agency: “The use of the Y-word as a defiant response from Jewish Spurs supporters was important in its time.

“However, increasingly its aggressive misuse to abuse Spurs, its fans, the club, and its owners has had negative consequences elsewhere.

“It is significant that in the analysis I have done, those who use the Y-Word as a Spurs linked identifier on social media are overwhelmingly not Jewish, nor ever advocate any positives about Jewish life.

“There are more people using the Y-word identifier who repeat anti-Semitic tropes than those who identify as being Jewish. The recent abuse from an open top bus in Stamford Hill shows very vividly that this bold and important Tottenham Hotspur initiative is timely and the use of the Y-Word in football and in society has had its day.

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“I congratulate Tottenham Hotspur on their announcement and trust that other clubs will play their part in eradicating the use of the Y-word throughout football.”

Spurs revealed that from 23,000 responses 94% of people acknowledged that the Y-word was a racist term, with key findings from the consultation also showing fans feel uncomfortable with its use at matches, younger fans are unaware of the historical context and that it is time to reconsider it’s ongoing use.

They said in a statement: “We pride ourselves on being an inclusive and progressive club and are aware of the growing cultural sensitivities globally.

“We have already seen several sports entities and franchises make appropriate changes to nicknames and aspects of their identities in recognition of evolving sentiment.

“As a club, we always strive to create a welcoming environment that embraces all our fans so that every one of our supporters can feel included in the matchday experience.

“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 acknowledgement 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.” 

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