Tottenham and FA receive fresh threat from Society of Black Lawyers over chants

 

The Society of Black Lawyers hit out at Tottenham and the Football Association after repeating its threat to go to the police over what it regards as anti-Semitic chanting at White Hart Lane.

Spurs fans sent an open message of defiance to the SBL last night when they chanted "We'll sing what we want" and "Yid Army" throughout the club's 3-1 home win over Maribor in the Europa League.

Despite being a club with a traditionally large Jewish following, Tottenham fans often refer to themselves as "Yids" or the "Yid Army" in chants during the club's matches.

Although Spurs claim otherwise, the SBL say the phrase is anti-Semitic and they have vowed to complain to the police under the Public Order Act if supporters continue to use the chant beyond the November 20 deadline it has set.

The SBL had monitors at the north London ground last night who heard the chants and this morning it reiterated its commitment to report any such action to the police should fans continue their actions.

"We are not going to let go on this," SBL chair Peter Herbert said.

"After November 20 there is a potential that people will get a criminal conviction. If they want to run that risk then fine.

"We are serious. We aren't in this for sensationalism. We think the vast majority of Tottenham fans are sensible and do not engage in anti-Semitism.

"It's a very small minority who obviously don't care about any offence.

"Their love of football is greater than their desire to deal with anti-Semitism."

Tottenham today refused to comment on the matter. The London club stick by the statement they released on Wednesday which read: "Our guiding principle in respect of the 'Y-word' is based on the point of law itself - the distinguishing factor is the intent with which it is used ie if it is used with the deliberate intention to cause offence. This has been the basis of prosecutions of fans of other teams to date.

"Our fans adopted the chant as a defence mechanism in order to own the term and thereby deflect anti-Semitic abuse. They do not use the term to others to cause any offence, they use it as a chant amongst themselves."

Herbert believes the club have been misguided over the issue and claims fans can be prosecuted regardless of whether the songs are intended to cause offence.

"Under Section Five of the Public Order Act it doesn't matter what the intent is of the individual or the crowd, if the words cause harassment, alarm, or distress to anyone watching then that is sufficient," Herbert said.

"If a crowd of men were walking down Tottenham High Road singing the Y-word causing offence they would be arrested. It doesn't make sense that they can make White Hart Lane a no-go area for law."

Herbert ridiculed Tottenham's statement and claimed the SBL has widespread support for its campaign from within the Jewish community.

"We have no doubt there will be complaints (to the police)," Herbert added.

"If the Met Police say they are going to look at prosecutions then there is a good chance it will stop.

"Tottenham's statement is indefensible. I think if you went to the United States, Canada or South Africa and you made a statement like that you would face ridicule and condemnation.

"It is a very sad day for English football when clubs feel they have to defend a term of abuse."

Herbert also accused the FA of a lack of interest in the Tottenham matter.

"This is an appalling abdication of responsibility by the FA," he said.

"It's a complete disgrace that they have stayed silent on this.

"There is an inertia from the FA over racism and anti-Semitism.

"You can't go and complain about racism and anti-Semitism in Serbia and then have it happening in your own back yard."

Press Association Sport is awaiting reply from the FA over Herbert's comments.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution