No 'Arab clothing', Newcastle ask fans

AAPPress Association
Newcastle have asked fans not to wear Arab headgear and robes unless they normally do so.
Camera IconNewcastle have asked fans not to wear Arab headgear and robes unless they normally do so. Credit: EPA

Newcastle United 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.

Some fans wore traditional robes and others headdresses for Sunday's Premier League clash with Tottenham, the Magpies' first under their new owners.

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."

The statement added: "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 club's move was backed by anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out via a tweet which read: "We welcome this statement from @NUFC and would ask fans to show respect and cultural sensitivity when choosing what to wear on match days.

"We support the proactive steps taken by the club to ensure all fans feel welcome attending games at St James' Park."

Meanwhile the family of Alan George Smith, 80, who collapsed during Sunday's Premier League clash with Tottenham have thanked the medics who saved his life.

The Newcastle fan was taken ill during the first half of the game, which was suspended as emergency staff - some of them off duty and attending the match as supporters - rushed to the scene in the East Stand at St James' Park.

Mr Smith was stabilised inside the stadium before being transferred by ambulance to the city's Royal Victoria Infirmary and later the Freeman Hospital, where he continues his recovery.

In a statement released through the club, son Paul said: "We are pleased to advise that Alan is making great progress, is now fully alert and is up and walking about. He will remain in hospital over the next few days while further tests are carried out."

Paul Smith's statement went on to thank all those connected in the medical emergency adding his father "is looking forward to getting back to St James' Park as soon as possible."

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