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Met: Fans using 'Y' word could be arrested

ESPN staff
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Tottenham supporters have been warned not to use the 'Y' word on Sunday © Getty Images
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The Metropolitan Police have warned that fans using the 'Y' word in Tottenham's game against West Ham on Sunday could be arrested.

The FA said in August that Spurs supporters who continued to chant the word could face criminal charges.

Spurs fans have long claimed that their use of the word is a 'badge of honour' to combat decades of abuse from opposition supporters that used the club's links with the Jewish community to spout anti-semitic abuse.

Last season a section of the visiting West Ham support at White Hart Lane mimicked the gassing of the Jews in the Holocaust by hissing, as well as singing songs praising former Lazio player and Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio, who previously declared his admiration for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

"Officers at this Sunday's Premier League fixture between Tottenham Hotspur FC and West Ham United will be on the look out for supporters that use the 'Y' word and they will be taking action to stamp it out," said a Metropolitan Police statement.

"Some words - like the 'Y' word - which historically have been perceived by some as acceptable, cause harassment, alarm or distress to others, and people who use this language could be committing a criminal offence.

"The Met has a long history of working with football clubs and the football authorities, including the FA, to educate, encourage and empower supporters to stamp out racism in football and to ensure that there is no misunderstanding about what constitutes racist language or behaviour."

Chief Superintendent Mick Johnson, the match commander on Sunday, added: "This topic has been debated at length but our position is clear - racism and offensive language have no place in football or indeed in society. Those supporters who engage in such behaviour should be under no illusion that they may be committing an offence and may be liable to a warning or be arrested."

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