Rumblings In North London

Last updated : 11 November 2007 By Editor

The Indie:

Three Arsenal season ticket holders have instructed human rights lawyers to bring a legal challenge against their own club over what they allege is racist chanting in the new Emirates Stadium.

In a letter sent to the Arsenal chairman, the fans - a Jew, a Muslim and a Christian - claim that the use of the anti-Semitic words "Yids" or "Yiddos" in reference to players and fans from Tottenham Hotspur amounts to a breach of Race Relations Act.

Their solicitor, Lawrence Davies, a leading human rights lawyer at the London law firm Equal Justice, has asked the club to take immediate action to stamp out all racist chanting at the club.

Mr Davies's letter, sent this week to Peter Hill-Wood, makes it clear that the season-ticket holders can sue the club for breach of contract as Arsenal has a written policy of taking firm action against racist behaviour in the stadium.

Arsenal fans argue that the use of the words "Yids" and "Yiddos" in reference to their north London rivals is not racist but simply directed at the club's Jewish history and point out that Tottenham fans even refer to themselves as the "Yid Army". But Mr Davies says this does not stop the language from being offensive and anti-Semitic.

Mr Davies says in his letter: "The test in law is whether the language concerned causes offence to the person concerned. Our five clients are all Arsenal supporters and three are season-ticket holders. The season-ticket holders include a Jewish member and a Muslim member. They have all felt offended."