Did Chelsea FC  turn on one of their own in the latest Y*d case? 

Today, a Chelsea FC  fan was acquitted in court following a trial for using racially aggravated words at Stamford Bridge. The alleged racially aggravated words?

 ‘Who’s that team they call the Chelsea? 

Who’s that team we all adore

We’re the boys in blue and white

And we’re out to show the World the way to score

Bring on Tottenham or the Arsenal 

Bring on scoucers by the score 

Barcelona, Real Madrid, Tottenham are a load of yids

And we’re out to show the World the way we score’

The fan was charged with causing Racially Aggravated harassment alarm or distress for singing that song in the Matthew Harding Stand when Chelsea scored, and the Crown Prosecution Service continued with the prosecution despite my legal argument and  a dossier of evidence about the use of the word Yid in football and in general, the history of that particular Chelsea chant, and the fact it has been sung by thousands of Chelsea fans week after week and Chelsea FC has never raised its use as an issue. We drew parallels with the Morata chant and the fact Chelsea FC had asked fans to change the wording, something Chelsea had never done with this chant. 

The complaint was brought by a Chelsea FC fan who said he overheard my client singing the song, and that he took offence to the use of Yid. However on the day if trial it became apparent that this fan had complained to Chelsea FC and Kick It Out previously and he hadn’t received a response, so he again complained to a manager at  Chelsea FC and was given directions on when to make a complaint and how. To paraphrase he was told to wait until this particular match and make a complaint. The Club officer said he would sit in the fan’s seat at this match and make a note if he heard the use of Yid. But in reality what happened was the Club  officer made no report himself, the Club made no attempt to address the issue themselves, but they did arrange for the  fan who made the complaint to contact the police…..

Fast forward 10 months of distress, criminal trial and suspension from Stamford Bridge for my client, to today when my client was found not guilty. A trial which should never have gone ahead, Chelsea FC could have dealt with the use of Yid in the chant as a club, working with its fans. In reality they chose to use one fan against another, in a case where my client could have ended up with a criminal record. 

I don’t blame the fan who made the complaint, he felt aggrieved by the use of Yid in the chant. But sadly this is the face of modern football for many clubs, showing their contempt for the fans and using fans to further the Clubs’ hidden agendas. No doubt if my client had been convicted, Chelsea FC would have put out a statement condemning my client and telling fans that the court has said they can no longer use Yid in the chant. Using the court decision to get around the difficult issue that Chelsea FC doesn’t want to have to address with its fans…. whether to ask fans to change the words of a very traditional chant. 

I won’t hold my breath for the Chelsea FC statement congratulating my client on the fact the 10 months of stress that the Club created, is now over. 

About gurdena

Social Justice Barrister, interested in all things contentious & anything criminal justice related including prisoners and complaints against the police. Specialising in criminal law - mainly sex, violence, and football fans (not necessarily all 3 at the same time!). Represents people facing death penalty in the USA. Associate Member at Drystone Chambers Gurdena@btinternet.com Alison.gurden@drystone.com

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