New owners ask Newcastle United fans not to wear Arab dress

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Newcastle United fans have been asked not to wear Arab headdresses and robes in tribute to the new Saudi-backed owners as it could cause offence.

Jubilant fans, overjoyed at the thought of the club becoming major players in the Premier League again with a war chest to buy new players, donned fake Arab garb at St James’ Park on Sunday.

Some fashioned their outfits from tea towels, while others wore more genuine white robes and real keffiyehs.

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – St. James’ Park
Fans have been told the new owners were not offended by the gesture (PA)

The club has now requested fans not to do this – unless they would ordinarily wear such outfits – as some may find it inappropriate, although the owners said they were not offended.

A club statement 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.”

The equality and inclusion group Kick It Out welcomed the request, saying: “We support the proactive steps taken by the club to ensure all fans feel welcome attending games at St James’ Park.”

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