(VIDEO) Anti-Semitic abuse 'rife among football (soccer) fans'


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Anti-Semitic abuse is rife among football fans and must be treated as seriously as other forms of racism, a group of top footballers and celebrities has warned.

David Baddiel, the comedian, has launched a campaign to stamp out use of the word “yid” in football chants which mock Jewish and Tottenham supporters.

High-profile backers have also condemned fans for hissing at Jewish spectators, to imitate the sound of gas chambers used in the Holocaust.

But many Tottenham supporters have said they use the term "yid army" themselves as a "badge of honour" and are not offended by it.

The words “yid” or “yiddo”, meaning Jew, have been used for decades to identify Tottenham supporters, because of the proportion of Jewish supporters at the club.

The campaign, supported by England midfielder Frank Lampard and Tottenham defender Ledley King, warns that while racism has become unacceptable in the stands, anti-Semitism remains dangerously commonplace.

Baddiel, whose Jewish mother was forced to flee Nazi Germany during the Second World War, has made a film exploring the problem, entitled The Y-Word, which he hopes will spark a shift in attitudes among fans.

Baddiel, 46, a Chelsea supporter, said: “Anti-Semitism is the other racism in football, and, because it so lags behind in visibility to racial abuse of black players, it is hardly ever discussed.

"It's an important issue, not least because, in my experience, there are more Jewish fans at most grounds than black ones - it is virtually impossible to be Jewish and male and not interested in football - and I know that they all dread the starting up of these chants."

He added: “The film is not intended to censor football fans. It's simply to raise awareness that the Y-word is, and has been for many, many years, a race hate word.

“It's our belief that some football fans may not even realise this, and the film is designed therefore to inform and raise debate.”

However, campaigners claim the phrase is often taken too far, with chants against Spurs turning viciously anti-Semitic.

The film, which also features former England striker Gary Lineker, includes YouTube footage of fans singing: "Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz, Sieg Heil, Hitler's going to gas them again."

Donna Cullen, executive director of Tottenham Hotspur, said: “It is unthinkable and wholly unacceptable that, in this day and age, supporters are subjected to anti-Semitic abuse such as hissing to imitate the gas chambers used during the Holocaust in the Second World War.”

Lampard, 32, added: “For some reason some fans still shout the Y-word. Some might think it's just a bit of a laugh. But racist chanting is against the law. It's against the law to call someone the Y-word on the street."

Spurs fans were last week accused of racially abusing Real Madrid player Emmanuel Adebayor during a match.

The club accepted the song, which contained the words “your dad washes elephants, your mother’s a whore” was offensive but the Crown Prosecution Service concluded it was not racist.

UEFA sent a high-ranking official to monitor Tottenham fans during Wednesday night’s clash with Real Madrid at White Hart Lane, following the Adebayor’s complaint.

The campaign, organised through the anti-racism group Kick It Out, has also won the backing of the Football Association and numerous premier league clubs, including Arsenal and Chelsea.

SOURCE:  Telegraph UK



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