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West Ham fans face arrest for using the ‘Y’ word
Police have issued a warning to football fans attending Sunday’s Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United that use of the racially offensive word ‘Yid’ could result in their arrest.
The ‘Y’ word has for decades been used in abusive chants against Spurs fans, who have a large Jewish following.
In recent years Spurs fans themselves have been heard referring to themselves as "Yid army" in terrace chants, controversially insisting to have have ‘reclaimed’ the term.
The police say though the ‘Y’ word has historically been perceived by some as acceptable, it causes distress to others, meaning people who use it could be committing a criminal offence.
Chief Superintendent Mick Johnson, the match commander on Sunday, said: “This topic has been debated at length but our position is clear, racism and offensive language have no place in football or indeed in society.
“Those supporters who engage in such behaviour should be under no illusion that they may be committing an offence and may be liable to a warning or be arrested.”
West Ham have warned fans they will be adopting a “zero tolerance policy towards any form of discriminatory behaviour” on Sunday and will ban any fan found “to be acting inappropriately”.
A statement on the club’s official website reads: “Any such behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by West Ham United.
“The club seeks to remind all fans attending the match at White Hart Lane that they will be acting as ambassadors for West Ham United and their behaviour should reflect the values and standards of our club.”
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