West Ham vow to ban fans found guilty of anti-Semitic chanting

Story highlights

  • West Ham United vow life bans for any fans found guilty of inappropriate chanting
  • Away supporters alleged to have aimed anti-Semitic chants at Tottenham fans
  • English Football Association confirm they are to launch an investigation
  • West Ham ban one season ticket holder after he was cautioned by police

West Ham United will ban fans for life if they are found to have aired anti-Semitic chants during their English Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

The English Football Association (FA) has confirmed they have launched an investigation into chants from the stands during the match at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham have strong links with London's Jewish community and it is alleged West Ham's supporters sang songs about Adolf Hitler and referred to an incident last week which saw several Spurs fans stabbed in Rome.

West Ham confirmed two of their fans had been cautioned by police for "racially aggravated gesturing" on their official website.

Read: Anti-semitic chanting mars Lazio's clash with Tottenham

"One of those fans has since been identified as a season ticket holder and has, this afternoon, been sent a letter containing a banning order from the club," they said. "Any other individuals identified can expect a similar swift and robust response."

It is the latest racism storm to engulf England's top flight, after recent high-profile cases involving Chelsea captain John Terry, who was banned for racially abusing an opponent.

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Last week Chelsea's complaint of racist language towards one of their players from Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg was dismissed by the FA due to a lack of evidence.

A statement on the FA's website read: "The FA Governance Department has this morning contacted both clubs and will continue to make enquiries into the matter in the coming days.

"We note the statement issued by West Ham United FC and encourage clubs to identify and ban for life any individuals involved in incidents of abusive chanting.

"There is no place for anti-Semitism or any form of discrimination in football. The FA is committed to working with the clubs, Leagues, fans groups, the police, CPS and community stakeholders to play our part in addressing this unacceptable behavior."

West Ham's Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun took to micro-blogging site Twitter to express his dismay at the chanting.

He wrote: "I have a great relationship with the West Ham United supporters, from my first spell at the club and again now I am back on loan here, this why I was very disappointed to hear some of the songs yesterday and it was embarrassing.

"But we need to remember that it was made by a minority group of fans and I'm sure the FA together with West Ham United football club will do everything to find and punish them."

Ahead of Tottenham's Europa League clash with Lazio in Rome last week, a group of their supporters were attacked while drinking in a bar in the city center.

During the match Lazio's fans were alleged to have sung anti-Semitic songs, prompting Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas to call on European football's governing body UEFA to act.

Lazio were fined $50,000 in October over racist chanting towards a trio of Tottenham players who are black.

The FA called on UEFA to sanction Serbia after another Tottenham player, Danny Rose, was reported to have been subjected to monkey chants while on duty with England's under-21 team.

Tottenham's close association with the Jewish community has led to some of their fans to identifying themselves as "Yids", a term which at different times throughout history has been used by Jews and also to abuse them.

A portion of the Spurs' support have attempted to "reclaim" the word, using terms like "Yiddo" and calling themselves the "Yid Army."

Peter Herbert, chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, who referred Chelsea's complaint over Clattenburg to the police, said they were prepared to do the same for this incident.

He told CNN: "We're in discussions with the Metropolitan Police, I understand the FA have already reported it which they should do with such incidents.

"There has to be zero tolerance, if these people can be identified they should be prosecuted and banned from football.

"We've been in conversation with the Met Police this morning and we're waiting for a few more complaints to come in from the Jewish community and we'll make the formal complaint that this should be investigated as a racial incident."

West Ham vowed to track down and ban any more of their supporters who were at fault during Sunday's match.

"West Ham United are in contact with Tottenham Hotspur to assist them with their investigation into the conduct of a small number of supporters and alleged inappropriate chanting during yesterday's match at White Hart Lane," a statement read.

"The majority of West Ham supporters went there and supported their team in the proper fashion. They were let down by a tiny minority.

"West Ham United will take the strongest possible action against any of their supporters, including enforcing life bans from the club, that are found guilty of behavior which is categorically not condoned by West Ham United."

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