60% of football fans think it is acceptable for Tottenham supporters to describe themselves as "Yids"
Historically Tottenham Hotspur football club had many Jewish supporters, and while most of their supporters today are not Jewish it remains part of the clubs identity and its supporters sometimes refer to themselves as "Yids" or the "Yid Army", including in chants at Tottenham games. The FA reignited the debate surrounding the use of the word at football grounds last week by releasing a statement claiming any fan chanting the word "Yid" could face criminal charges.and encouraging fans not to use it in any situation.
A new YouGov poll looked at public opinion on the issue and showed there was a significant difference in the attitudes of fans and those not interested in football.
A majority (60%) of football fans feel that it is acceptable for Tottenham fans to refer to themselves as “Yids” or the “Yid Army”, while 24% feel it is unacceptable and 16% say they don’t know. Amongst non-football fans, 36% feel it is acceptable, 28% it is was unacceptable and 36% don’t know.
When it comes to opposing fans using the term, there was less tolerance across the board. 47% of football fans still feel it is acceptable, compared with 26% of non-fans. 41% of both football and non-football fans say it is unacceptable.
Regarding the FAs role on the issue, 6% of the British public think the FA should focus on stopping Tottenham fans describing themselves as "Yids" and 20% think they should focus on stopping those who chant anti-Semitic abuse at Tottenham fans. Although 34% think neither is a problem and the FA should be focusing on other issues.
Our poll showed that fans and non-fans make a distinction between Tottenham fans and rival fans use of the word, a sentiment echoed by David Cameron this week. The Prime Minister stated in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle that fans should only be prosecuted if the use of the term was motivated by hate. Tottenham Manager Andre-Villas Boas welcomed the Prime Ministers comments, claiming Tottenham fans use the term “with pride”.
Tottenham Hotspur has begun a consultation process with fans on the issue, sending a questionnaire to season-ticket holders.