Newcastle United Asks its Fans Not to Wear Traditional Arabic Clothing
English football club Newcastle United issued a statement asking its fans to refrain from wearing traditional Arabic clothing or Middle East-inspired head coverings to avoid "causing offense."
Newcastle United has asked its fans celebrating the club's £305 million ($420 million) Saudi-backed takeover not to wear Arab-style clothing to matches to avoid causing offense.
In the past few days, several club supporters wore traditional robes; others donned headdresses during Newcastle's matches under their new owners.
Some fans even chanted “We're Saudis. We can afford anything,” as they threw around fake money.
"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," said a club statement on Wednesday.
#NUFC 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.— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 20, 2021
"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," according to the statement.
The club said nobody among the new ownership group was offended by the attire, acknowledging it was a gesture that was "positive and welcoming in its intent."
"However, there remains the possibility that dressing this way is culturally inappropriate and risks causing offense to others," the statement added.
The club is now 80%-owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Amnesty International has condemned the Premier League's decision to give the green light to the takeover, accusing Saudi Arabia of using its involvement in English football to "sportswash" its poor human rights record.
The Saudi state has been accused of human rights violations and an alleged piracy dispute with Qatari sports broadcaster beIN Sports over broadcasting rights.
For her part, Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, criticized the takeover of Newcastle United by a Saudi-led consortium, accusing the club of only thinking of money.
Western intelligence agencies accuse bin Salman of authorizing the murder of the Washington Post contributor that was killed in 2018 inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul.