Newcastle urge fans not to wear Arabic clothing or headdresses at matches

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Newcastle urge fans not to wear Arabic clothing or headdresses at matches after Saudi takeover - GETTY IMAGES
Newcastle urge fans not to wear Arabic clothing or headdresses at matches after Saudi takeover - GETTY IMAGES

Newcastle United have urged their supporters to stop wearing Arabic clothing to matches due to the "possibility" of it being deemed culturally inappropriate or offensive.

Many Newcastle supporters wore Arabic-style clothing, including homemade head coverings, at Sunday's match against Tottenham Hotspur, the team's first game since the Saudi takeover.

The club said no offence has been taken by the new owners, who have acknowledged that the gesture of wearing Middle East-inspired clothing is "positive and welcoming in its intent". But Newcastle fear the use of traditional Arabic clothing, by those who would not usually wear it, could cause offence to others.

"Newcastle United is kindly asking supporters to refrain from wearing traditional Arabic clothing or Middle East-inspired head coverings at matches if they would not ordinarily wear such attire," the club said.

"A number of supporters have recently attended St James’ Park wearing associated head coverings and robes, marking the takeover of the club by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media.

"No-one among the new ownership group was in any way offended by the attire of the fans who chose to celebrate in this way. It was a gesture that was acknowledged as positive and welcoming in its intent.

"However, there remains the possibility that dressing this way is culturally inappropriate and risks causing offence to others.

"All visitors to the club are, as always, encouraged to wear whatever is the norm for their own culture or religion, continuing to reflect the broad and rich multicultural communities and groups from which the club proudly draws its support."

It comes after the actions of some Newcastle fans were criticised in Parliament, with SNP MP John Nicolson saying he felt for the widow of Jamal Khashoggi, the murdered journalist, as supporters celebrated the takeover.

"I'm trying to imagine what it must be like to be Jamal Khashoggi's widow, when her husband has been chopped up and murdered.... and she sees numpties dancing around in cod-Arabic dresses outside Newcastle United," he said.

"That must be heart-rending. It made me, as an outsider watching it, think there was nobody who could have taken over that club - no matter the level of evil of the person who took over - that would have resulted in anything other than celebration for large numbers of Newcastle supporters.

"That's a kind of sickness at the heart of football, isn't it?"

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