The FA is committed to promoting equality and inclusion in football and to confronting and eliminating discrimination of every kind.
The FA appreciates that language is a complex issue: the use and meaning of words is constantly evolving. This means that, over time, sometimes neutral words or phrases can come to be understood as offensive; and, similarly, words or phrases previously considered as offensive can become more acceptable.
The FA also appreciates the difference between the use of language in the private and public sphere. Whilst someone may be free to use the language of his or her choice at home, the same is not the case when he or she does so publicly.
As the governing body of football, it is The FA’s duty to enforce the Laws of the Game and to send out clear messages about what is and what is not acceptable language within the context of football.
The term ‘Yid’
Although the term derives from the Yiddish word for a Jew, its use in the English language has been, both historically and in contemporary use, derogatory and offensive.
It is noted that many minority communities have sought to reclaim historic terms of abuse such as this as a means of empowerment. The process of empowerment through reclaiming language is complex and can often divide opinion within the same community.
In light of the historic and contemporary use of the term, The FA considers that the use of the term ‘Yid’ is likely to be considered offensive by the reasonable observer.
Use of the term by football fans
The FA is aware that there are sections of fans at certain clubs who describe themselves using the term, or variants of the term, ‘Yid’. Those fans claim that use of the term is a ‘badge of honour’ and is not intended to be offensive.
Nevertheless, its use is still liable to cause offence to others, whether Jewish or not.
Also, by using the term in this manner, fans may be clouding the issue by making it harder to differentiate its use by these fans and by those who use the term in an intentionally offensive manner.
Further, use of the term in a public setting could amount to a criminal offence, and leave those fans liable to prosecution and potentially a lengthy Football Banning Order. Summary
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 such, The FA considers that the use of the term ‘Yid’ is likely to be considered offensive by the reasonable observer and considers the term to be inappropriate in a football setting.
The FA would encourage fans to avoid using it in any situation.