Using 'Yid’ Could Mean Arrest, British Soccer Fans Told

Fans warned ahead of Tottenham Hotspurs Premier League game against West Ham United.

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Fans of the Tottenham soccer club have been threatened with arrest if they use the term “yid” at their next home match.

The Hotspurs — or Spurs, as the team is known — play their London rivals West Ham United on Sunday in a Premier League game.

Scotland Yard Chief Superintendent Mick Johnson, the match commander for Sunday’s game, told the British daily The Guardian that “racism and offensive language have no place in football or indeed in society. Those supporters who engage in such behavior should be under no illusion that they may be committing an offense and may be liable to a warning or be arrested.”

Tottenham has many Jewish supporters who sometimes call themselves the “Yid army.” However, the term often is used derogatorily by fans of Hotspurs opponents.

The threat of arrest comes less than a month after the English Football Association announced in a statement that fans could face criminal charges for using yid, calling the term “inappropriate in a football setting.”

The statement also said that “use of the term in a public setting could amount to a criminal offense, and leave those fans liable to prosecution and potentially a lengthy football banning order.”

In the three weeks since the governing body of English soccer threatened to arrest fans, Spurs’ supporters have continued to use the term during matches.

Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen, center, fights for the ball with Norwich City's Sebastien Bassong, left, and Leroy Fer, right, during their Premier League soccer match.Credit: AP