Newcastle have performed a U-turn, telling fans they will not be discouraged from wearing Arab-style clothing at matches after all.
After some supporters wore robes and headdresses for last weekend’s Premier League defeat by Tottenham following the Saudi Arabia-backed takeover, the Magpies put out a statement asking fans to refrain from such tributes.
However, the club have changed their tune, and a further statement just after kick-off between Newcastle and Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park read: “The new owners have been overwhelmed by the welcome of the local community, following the acquisition of the club two weeks ago.
“The fans who have celebrated by wearing culturally traditional clothing, including head coverings, have been part of that welcome.
“Those who wish to support the club by wearing appropriate culturally-inspired clothing should feel free to do so as they see fit. We are inclusive to all.
“To reiterate what we said previously, neither the club nor its new owners were offended by attire worn, and appreciate the overt statements of support and acceptance by our great fans.
“Newcastle United FC and its new owners continue to support the Premier League’s initiatives on diversity and inclusion, including No Room for Racism.”
Newcastle’s previous statement had been backed by Kick It Out, who said: “We support the proactive steps taken by the club to ensure all fans feel welcome attending games at St James’ Park.”
Saudi Arabia’s human rights record has made the deal hugely controversial and some Crystal Palace fans held up a large banner criticising the takeover.