English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur has told supporters it is time to “move on” from using the “Y-word” – deemed anti-Semitic – after conducting a review of the term among the club’s fanbase.
The review, which had over 23,000 responses, found that 94% of those surveyed acknowledged the Y-word can be considered a racist term against a Jewish person, the club said on Thursday.
The word “yid” has inoffensive origins within the Jewish community, but it took on a new meaning in the 1930s – especially in the UK – when it was used as a derogatory term for a Jew or a person of Jewish origin.
A north London-based club, Tottenham is known for having a large number of Jewish supporters and Spurs fans, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have adopted the words “Yid,” “Yiddo” and “Yid Army” as a proud self-identifiers in an attempt to nullify the derogatory meaning.
“Our supporters’ use of the Y-word was initially taken as a positive step to deflect anti-Semitic abuse that they were subjected to at matches more than 40 years ago from opposition fans, who faced no sanctions for their actions,” Tottenham said in a statement.
But the club said that while it believes “our fans have never used it with any deliberate attempt to offend,” it acknowledged there is a “growing desire” among supporters to stop using the word.
Among the respondents to the survey, 11% identified themselves as Jewish.
Spurs said that it prided itself on being “an inclusive and progressive Club” and was “aware of the growing cultural sensitivities globally.”
“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,” the club added.
Jewish groups have appealed to the club in the past to take action over fans’ use of the word, though other prominent members of the Jewish community, who are also Spurs fans, have differing views on the matter.
The English Football Association has also warned that such practices are no longer acceptable as it continues its fight against discrimination in the English game.
More incidents of anti-Semitism were recorded in the United Kingdom in 2021 than at any point since it began recording such incidents in 1984, UK charity Community Security Trust (CST) said in report released Thursday.
The charity, which according to its website works to protect British Jews from anti-Semitism and related threats, said it recorded 2,255 anti-Jewish hate incidents across the country during 2021 – a 34% increase from the 1,684 it recorded in 2020.
Calum Trenaman contributed reporting.