Fans of the Newcastle United Football Club have been urged to not dress in Arab-style clothing as they celebrate the club’s takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium.
This is coming after some fans wore the traditional robes and headdresses for Sunday’s Premier League game with Tottenham. The fans’ actions were seen as a misguided show of support towards the new owners.
Newcastle in a statement said that while their owners took no offence by the fans’ attire, it could be considered stereotypical and culturally offensive.
A club spokesman 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.
“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.”
The FA and Kick It Out said they were alarmed by the spectacle, with the equality and inclusion group contacting the club to express their concerns.
Likewise, a city-centre pub, The Bridge Tavern on Akenside Hill, in Newcastle is urging supporters to refrain from visiting the venue in attire ‘that might be considered as cultural appropriation.’
In a statement issued on its Instagram page, The Bridge Tavern said: “Whilst we understand that Newcastle fans are excited about the recent club takeover, we also ask that customers refrain from attending our bar in any attire that might be considered as cultural appropriation.
“We welcome anyone in our lovely little boozer and would be devastated if anyone felt uncomfortable or disrespected.”
The post has attracted hundreds of likes from customers who have shown support for the venue’s stance online.