Police investigating banner held at Crystal Palace criticising Newcastle United takeover

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Police are investigating a banner unveiled by a section of the Crystal Palace support before Saturday afternoon’s draw with Newcastle United at Selhurst Park.

The Saudi Arabian-led takeover of the Tyneside club has caused controversy due to the human rights issues in the country and a graphic banner was held up in the Holmesdale End of the ground before kick-off.

A post from the official Croydon Metropolitan Police Twitter account read: “On Saturday 23 October police received a report of an offensive banner displayed by Crystal Palace fans.

“Officers are assessing the information and carrying out enquiries. Any allegations of racist abuse will be taken very seriously.”

Palace supporters group Holmesdale Fanatics released a statement not long after the banner had been unveiled before the match with Newcastle got underway.

“The Saudi led takeover of Newcastle has rightly received widespread condemnation and anger,” Holmesdale Fanatics’ statement read.

“To give the thumbs up to this deal at a time when the Premier League is promoting the women’s game and inclusive initiatives such as rainbow armbands, shows the total hypocrisy at play and demonstrates the league’s soulless agenda where profits trump all.”

On the banner ‘terrorism, beheading, civil rights abuses, murder, censorship and persecution’ were ticked off on a clipboard under the heading ‘Premier League Owners Test’. Next to it stood a man wearing Arab-style clothing and holding a sword with blood on it.

The Holmesdale Fanatics were not the only Palace fans group to protest against the Newcastle takeover on Saturday.

Proud and Palace, the club’s official lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters group, posted a video on their Twitter account which highlighted the case of Suhail al-Jameel, a gay man reportedly imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “We want to pick up the baton started by our counterparts at Spurs, LGBT group Proud Lilywhites, by raising awareness of Suhail al-Jameel.”

She added: “We don’t believe these owners have a place in the Premier League and we want to keep raising awareness.”

Additional reporting from PA

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