Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why the Y-Word Has No Place in Football; Anti-Semitic Abuse Must Be Treated as Seriously as Other Forms of Racism -- So All Fans, Including Tottenham's, Must Change Their Ways EXCLUSIVE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why the Y-Word Has No Place in Football; Anti-Semitic Abuse Must Be Treated as Seriously as Other Forms of Racism -- So All Fans, Including Tottenham's, Must Change Their Ways EXCLUSIVE

Article excerpt

Byline: David Baddiel Comedian, writer and film maker

TOMORROW, Spurs play Chelsea at White Hart Lane. Before the game, there will be a screening of The Y-W- ord, W a short film made by my brother Ivor and I, with contributions from Frank Lampard, Ledley King, Kieran Gibbs, Gary Lineker and others, for football's Kick it f Out campaign.

The film, which asks football fans to think twice before chanting the word Y*d or Y*ddo, is not directed principally at Spurs fans. It was sparked by the behaviour of a Chelsea fan, who, sitting a few seats behind me and Ivor, two years ago upgraded the chant -- regularly heard at Stamford Bridge whenever anything Spurs-related comes up -- to a more pointed one of "F**k the f**king Y**s! F**k the f**king Jews!" The only fans shown in the film chanting the Y-word are Chelsea and Arsenal ones; the fans shown extemporising from Y*ddo into a song celebrating Auschwitz are Chelsea ones. This is important, as the debate seems to have got mired into being just about Tottenham fans.

The chant, and associated anti-Semitic abuse, exists far beyond White Hart Lane, at the above-mentioned clubs, at Millwall, at West Ham, even W at Ajax.

However: there is a particular issue, of course, with Tottenham, who can lay claim to be the only club chanting it in support of their team. I respect and acknowledge that. But here are the reasons why that, too, has to be addressed ... Although Spurs fans consider they are just responding to racist taunts, the continuing use of the Y-word by Spurs fans informs and sustains the racist abuse aimed at Spurs by other fans. The more Spurs do it, the more it comes back. Many opposing fans feel they are justified in using the chant (and associated anti-Semitic abuse) because "The Y*ds is what Spurs call themselves".

We W cannot mount a campaign aimed at stopping fans chanting anti-Semitic abuse and using anti-Semitic language whilst saying: "But of course it's OK for this one set of fans". …

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