Tottenham Hotspur fans say they use 'yid' in a non-offensive way PIC: Reuters
Tottenham Hotspur fans say they use 'yid' in a non-offensive way PIC: Reuters

Football chiefs have ordered Tottenham Hotspur fans to stop using the word 'Yid.'

The Football Association has labelled the term 'offensive' and issued a decree instructing supporters to avoid the word - which is derogatory term for a Jewish person.

Opposing the move, Spurs fans told IBTimes UK that bringing the term in to the same category as words like n***** was wrong. White Hart Lane fans use 'yid' to describe themselves, not insult others. Triaditionally, the north London side have had a strong Jewish following among its supporters.

But the FA said it was enforcing the laws of the game to "send out clear messages about what is and what is not acceptable." Spectators at football matches who break rules on offensive language can be ejected from their seats by stewards and banned from grounds.

An FA spokesman said: "We are aware that there are sections of fans at certain clubs who describe themselves using the term, or variants of the term, 'Yid'. Those fans claim that use of the term is a 'badge of honour' and is not intended to be offensive. Nevertheless, its use is still liable to cause offence to others, whether Jewish or not."

The FA also accused fans of making it difficult for stewards to judge whether the word uttered at a match was meant to cause offense.

But Tottenham Hotspur fans derided the FA's measure by claiming it shall be impossible to enforce at games. The usage of 'Yid' by supporters of the Premier League club is ubiquitous, with it appearing hundreds of times on Twitter in handles, bios and as a hashtag, as well as in chants.

Yet Tottenham Hotspur makes clear on its website there is a zero tolerance approach to offensive language at White Hart Lane, stating it "will not be tolerated" in the stands.

Fan Richard Hughes, 33, told IBTimes UK that bids to stamp out the word 'Yid' among Spurs fans were doomed to fail.

"It's never going to happen because they will be ejecting thousands of people from the ground," he said. Even away at places like Chelsea, there are still 3,000 or so of us.

"We've adopted it as our own and it's not meant to be offensive in the context we use it. I've been going to Spurs for more than 20 years and when we go to away grounds we get people hissing and insulting us, so we shout back 'Yid Army.'

"I understand why some people are offended by the word, but not in this context."

But Jewish groups welcomed the designation of the 'Yid' by the FA.

The Board of Deputies Vice President Jonathan Arkush said: "We support the FA's stance in defining the 'Y'- word as an offensive term and we hope that once and for all its use will die out. We strongly support the Community Security Trust's view that the FA should be applauded for seeking to take steps that will undoubtedly reduce anti- Semitism at our football grounds."

Spurs pledged to launch a consultation about the continued use of the word.