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Police are investigating a banner unveiled by Crystal Palace fans ahead of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle.
A graphic banner was held up by supporters in the Holmesdale End at Selhurst Park highlighting the human rights issues in Saudi Arabia and criticising the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test.
It comes after the Premier League gave the go-ahead for a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s state sovereign wealth fund (Public Investment Fund) to take control of Newcastle earlier this month.
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.
— Croydon MPS (@MPSCroydon) October 23, 2021
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 under way.
“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 its 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.”
The Premier League has been approached for a comment.