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Barely anything about the debate surrounding the use of the word 'Yids' by Spurs fans is simple. One's instinct is to view this as a reclamation of the word, a way to empower Jewish people and draw the sting from those who genuinely use it to offend. However, it is also understandable that some find chants including the word, particularly when coming from non-Jewish Spurs fans, deeply uncomfortable.
The rights and wrongs are complex, but the FA's announcement last week that fans using the word could be banned or even prosecuted was strange, at best. Whichever side of the debate you fall, surely it's plain to see that Spurs fans themselves are not the most pressing problem, but those who use the word as an insult against them, and indeed the wider issue of racism in the game. The FA are, at best, missing the point.
The problem with this whole debate, as with plenty of others, is that context is often lost. It's tempting to think that everyone realises there is plenty of difference between a Spurs supporter using the word 'Yid' as a badge of honour or to 'reclaim' it, and an opposition fan using it as an insult. The pejorative should be obvious, but it is still used as a defence by people who, for some reason, think they should be allowed to say what they like.
The FA don't help this, of course. For them context, the most important thing when judging whether offence has been conveyed or caused, seems irrelevant, which is how they've justified punishing a number of players in recent times. They knew these players said the bad words, but couldn't prove the context, so banned them anyway.
Their statement last week stated: 'The FA considers that for the betterment of the game, rules on acceptable behaviour and language need to be simple, understandable and applicable to all people at all levels of the game.'
As said before, nothing about this is simple, and it's pointless to pretend otherwise.
There are those that argue the word should not be used by Spurs fans because it legitimises its use in the eyes of those who wish to offend, thus making it more common. But surely that argument does not stand, because Spurs fans adopted it as an act of reclamation, in response to its offensive use, not the other way around. If Spurs fans magically stop singing 'Yid Army', it won't stop anti-Semitic abuse from those that want to hurt them.
In any case, the word 'Yids' could be something of a red herring. Darren Alexander, co-chairman of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust, told Football365: "I would say though that generally, when things are said back to us, it's never the Y-word - it's normally the word 'Jew' or some other form of slur."
This includes two West Ham fans who were arrested last season for making 'Nazi-style salutes' during a game at White Hart Lane. Both accepted a police caution, and one - a West Ham season ticket holder - was banned by his club. The FA did nothing, but did announce that 'consideration will be given to taking disciplinary action against...West Ham United...if further reports of spectator misconduct are received'.
So basically - naughty boys, don't do it again. And suddenly it's Spurs fans who are the problem.
It's not as if it hasn't been made clear to the FA that they're missing the point. Alexander says: "We told them that as long ago as 2006, when we attended a meeting at the FA. I thought the message that we'd all brought away from that day was that there would be some form of education programme to explain to people why it's different when Spurs fans say the word, using it as a positive and therefore not to intentionally offend.
"Personally, I don't find the word offensive. I can see that in time, the meaning of words change. When Spurs fans use it, it's very much in the positive sense.
"I've felt quite empowered when I've stood there with 3,000 Spurs fans in an away stand and it's being sung or shouted. In that moment people of different colours and religions and from different backgrounds come together, and I've always found that very empowering."
Tottenham are seemingly approaching this incredibly difficult subject in a sensible fashion, recognising the different points of view and sensitivities in play. In response to the FA's statement, they are preparing a questionnaire to be sent to all season ticket holders, asking their opinion on the matter.
Which way does Alexander think the fans will lean? "From what I'm hearing among my friends, and the people I've heard from and spoken to and interacted with on Facebook, Twitter and on message boards - although that might be a small sample size - my initial instinct is that they will say it's not time to give up that identity yet."
And if they do answer that way, how will the FA react? By banning thousands of Spurs fans singing 'Yid Army' at their next home game? Reporting them all to the police? A side issue is how a 'ban' on the word would be enforced. The Metropolitan Police have said it would be difficult to prosecute anyone because intent to offend would be so hard to prove, making the FA's statement look even more pointless.
The FA's intentions are probably good, but by going after Spurs fans and 'the Y word', they are attacking the wrong targets and wasting time in a potentially very damaging way.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter
This whole article could be condensed to 'FA Missing'.- spence