Using term ‘yid’ no longer arrestable offense for British soccer fans

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Fans of the British soccer team Tottenham Hotspurs who use the term “yid” will not be arrested, British police said.

The team, known as the Spurs, has many Jewish supporters who sometimes call themselves the “Yid army.” However, the term often is used derogatorily by opposing fans.

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The English Football Association announced in September that Hotspurs fans could face criminal charges for using Yid, calling the term “inappropriate in a football setting.”

However, Tottenham backers have continued to use the term, saying it is not used derogatorily by team supporters. The chants include “Yids,” “Yid army” and “Yiddos.”

Constable Steve Payne of London’s Metropolitan Police told a meeting of team fans that using the word is no longer an arrestable offense, but that fans could still be charged if accused of using the term in a pejorative way, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported.

Payne, who works in the police Football Intelligence Unit, addressed a meeting of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust held last week.

He said that fans of opposing teams making anti-Semitic chants at Spurs supporters would be arrested, and acknowledged that there is a difference between offensive chants using the term yid made by opponents, versus the team’s fans using the word.