Newcastle urge fans to STOP wearing ‘traditional Arabic clothing or head coverings’ at matches ‘if they wouldn’t normally’ after dozens donned home-made keffiyehs to pay tribute to new owners
- Newcastle supporters have been donning home-made head-dresses recently
- The gesture is a misguided celebration of the club’s new Saudi-led ownership
- Club have now asked fans to refrain from wearing the traditional Arabic clothing’
Newcastle have asked fans celebrating the club’s Saudi-backed takeover not to wear Arab-style clothing for matches in case it causes offence to others.
Dozens of supporters donned home-made head-dresses for the Public Investment Fund’s first game in charge against Tottenham at St James Park on Sunday, creating a spectacle that dismayed anti-racism group Kick It Out and influential FA figures.
And now Newcastle themselves have urged fans to not don the home-made keffiyehs for future games.
Newcastle ask fans not to wear Arab-style clothing for matches in case it causes offence
A club statement said: ‘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.
‘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.
Magpies supporters have been making the gesture to celebrate the new Saudi-led ownership
‘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.’
Pictures of fans wearing the home-made head-dresses saw Kick It Out urge supporters to ditch the ‘culturally insensitive’ Saudi Arabia ‘fancy dress’ shortly after their 3-2 defeat by Tottenham at the weekend.
Kick It Out spent Monday collating reports of anti-discriminatory behaviour from the weekend’s fixtures as they do every Monday, before contacting the club about the issue.
Sportsmail has learned the equality and inclusion group are likely to offer education workshops in Newcastle to fans to explain how wearing tea towels in an attempt to impersonate Arabs could be considered racist, offensive, or culturally insensitive.
Senior figures at the FA are also concerned by the situation, and may become involved if it is not dealt with by the club.
Anti-racism group Kick It Out want the club to educate fans on how it may cause offence
The sight of many members of the Toon Army wearing tea towels was particularly jarring as it took place at the Premier League’s No Room for Racism campaign, which will run over the next fortnight with fans being asked to challenge and report any incidents of discrimination.
The issue of cultural appropriation has become a major talking point in UK sport this season.
Premiership rugby club Wasps called for a nationwide ban on the wearing of Native American headdresses by Exeter Chiefs fans earlier this month.
Exeter are refusing to drop the Chiefs moniker despite major American franchises undergoing rebrands, including the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians.