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Arsenal and Spurs issue joint appeal

North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have taken the rare step of issuing a joint statement.

Arsenal,Tottenham Hotspur,Tottenham Hotspurs Premier League,English League,English FA
Sport

LONDON - North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have taken the rare step of issuing a joint statement warning their fans against "anti-social behaviour" when the clubs meet in their first derby of the season on Saturday.

The match, at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, marks the 125th anniversary of the first meeting in November 1887 between the embryonic sides that evolved into Arsenal and Spurs and comes at a time of renewed interest in unacceptable behaviour at soccer games.

The statement, issued on the websites of both clubs on Friday, says: "Both clubs are actively encouraging all fans to focus on getting behind their team and enjoying what promises to be a great match on Saturday.

"A north London derby is always a special occasion and we hope Saturday's match will be remembered for both the action on the pitch, as well as the positive support for both teams off it.

"All fans should be aware that breaches of stadium regulations - including anti-social behaviour - will not be tolerated."

Both clubs have a large number of Jewish supporters, but Spurs fans have rejoiced in calling themselves "The Yid Army" for the last 30 years, appropriating the offensive term into a badge of honour against opponents who abused them by using it.

The newly-vociferous Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) tried to instigate proceedings against the club for allowing the fans to chant the name but their attempt was rejected by both the Metropolitan Police and the club.

MEETING PLANNED

In a separate statement on Friday Spurs said its officials are to meet with police to discuss how to tackle anti-Semitism.

Representatives of anti-racism group Kick It Out will also be present at next week's meeting.

However, Spurs said the meeting was not specifically about Tottenham fans' reference to themselves as "Yid Army".

Peter Herbert, who chairs the SBL has said he would report the club to police over the chant if no action was taken.

But Spurs said the meeting was about how to collectively tackle anti-Semitism, rather than a specific discussion about the chant

A statement on Tottenham's website read: "As part of our desire for a wider debate and action on how to collectively eradicate anti-Semitism from our footballing community, the club has arranged to meet with Kick It Out and the Metropolitan Police next week in order to discuss measures to be taken both inside and outside stadia."

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