Cameron ignites debate over Tottenham and the Y-word

Cameron ignites debate over Tottenham and the Y-word
Tottenham Hotspur's Roberto Soldado is applauded by supporters at White Hart Lane in London August 25, 2013.

LONDON, Sept 19, 2013 (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron has stirred a hornet's nest by wading into a debate about the right of Tottenham Hotspur supporters to describe themselves using a racially sensitive word.

For years, sections of the north London football club's support have described themselves as 'Yids', in a bid to reclaim the pejorative term from anti-Semitic opposition fans who have used it to make slurs about Spurs' Jewish connections.

Spurs have traditionally attracted support from London's Jewish communities and chairman Daniel Levy is the latest in a line of Jewish businessmen to have managed the club's affairs.

However, in its bid to clamp down on discrimination in the English game, the Football Association has asked their fans to refrain from using the term 'Yid'.

In a statement released last week, the governing body said the word was "likely to be considered offensive by the reasonable observer" and that fans "should avoid using it in any situation".

The FA warned that use of such words could lead to a banning order or even criminal charges, but the response from Spurs' supporters was voluble, with chants of "Yid Army!" and "We'll sing what we want!" aired during Saturday's 2-0 win over Norwich City.

Tottenham have approached the issue carefully, announcing plans to distribute a survey about the use of the word among their season ticket-holders, but Cameron threw his weight behind the chanters.

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