Frank Lampard, Ledley King and Kieran Gibbs appear in a new film launched today (14 April) aimed at tackling anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish abuse in football.
The film, entitled The Y-Word, has been written and produced by David and Ivor Baddiel, in conjunction with Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, Maccabi GB, Community Security Trust, The Shoresh Foundation and Fahrenheit Films.
“The film is not intended to censor football fans,” said David. “It’s simply to raise awareness that the Y-Word is – and has been for many, many years – a race hate word. It’s our belief that some football fans may not even realise this, and the film is designed therefore to inform and raise debate.”
The minute-long film explores the use of the word ‘Yid’ by football supporters. Gary Lineker, England women’s star Rachel Yankey and Zesh Rehman, the Premier League’s first British Asian player, also feature in the film.
The film has already received widespread support from London’s Premier League clubs ahead of its debut screening.
Tottenham Hotspur Executive Director, Donna Cullen, said: “It is unthinkable and wholly unacceptable that, in this day and age, supporters are subjected to anti-Semitic abuse such as hissing to imitate the gas chambers used during the Holocaust in the Second World War. We look forward to an informed and proper debate with Kick It Out, stakeholders and the key authorities to raise greater awareness and put in place the stringent measures needed to stop anti-Semitic abuse in football. We are committed to eliminating all forms of racism and we shall support efforts to kick anti-Semitism out of the game.”
Chelsea Chairman, Bruce Buck, commented: “Chelsea FC has been campaigning about issues around anti-Semitism for many years. We have, and always will, take the strongest possible action against anyone found making any kind of discriminatory chant or taunt. It is great to see the football world come together to support a project that will raise awareness of the problem.”
Arsenal Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, said: “Arsenal FC supports any initiative designed to reduce exclusion. The club works hard under the ‘Arsenal for Everyone’ banner on a range of issues aimed at increasing equality and inclusion. Given the club’s proximity to some of the country’s largest Jewish communities, stamping out anti-Semitism is something we have, historically, paid particular attention to and applaud Kick It Out in this new method of tackling it.”
Governing bodies have also pledged their backing, with FA General Secretary, Alex Horne, saying: “The FA is delighted to support The Y-Word film and we hope that it has a positive impact in educating football fans on anti-Semitic behaviour. The ‘think again’ message is clear for those who use chants such as the y-word. We are committed to football for all and our overall aim is to make football stadiums family friendly and open to everyone.”
Deputy Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Bobby Barnes, said: “The PFA has a zero-tolerance stance to all forms of racism, bigotry and hatred and this includes all forms of anti-Semitism. Chants and songs are a part of football culture but we will not condone any form of chanting that causes offence to players or the majority of supporters who go to the game to enjoy football, not to create trouble.”
Chairman of the Football League, Greg Clarke, gave the film his backing: “There is no place for any form of racism in football and we welcome this initiative on anti-Semitism by Kick It Out. Football League clubs are committed to creating safe, family friendly environments at their grounds and they will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.”
John Mann MP, Chair of The FA Working Group on tackling anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in football, added: “The Y-Word is a powerful and important film which demonstrates that footballers from many different backgrounds have complete contempt for racist taunts, whoever the victim. I know The FA take these matters seriously and have been pleased with their efforts to implement the recommendations of my report on tackling anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in football. In seeking to eradicate such abuse from our terraces, The Y-Word, The FA and Kick It Out help us to keep football a national pride and beautiful game.”