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Plans are being laid to outlaw protests against Saudi involvement in Newcastle

By Bulldog Drummond. Picture below from Fazza World on Pinterest

It started out with Newcastle fans wearing mock Arab costumes to celebrate the takeover of the club by the Saudi Arabia Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Then on 20 October the club put out a statement saying “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,” on the rather bonkers grounds that “it could be considered stereotypical and culturally offensive.”

Bonkers since that would mean that given that I normally dress in jeans and rugby shirt, if I put on a suit and tie to go to a business meeting, that too could be considered stereotypical and culturally offensive since I don’t subscribe to the culture that says a certain costume should be worn for business meetings.

Next on 23 October Newcastle United backtracked “as they tell fans they CAN now wear Arabic clothing despite criticism from anti-racism groups.”   And according to the Sun, this was despite Kick it out saying that such fancy dress could be offensive.

Then according to the Observer “police [are] investigating after Palace fans display banner at Newcastle match.”

If you are a UK citizen or are familiar with the traditions and standards in the UK, freedom of expression is one of our most highly cherished freedoms – and incorporated into this freedom is the freedom to protest, and most certainly having a banner protesting against the lack of human rights in somewhere on the planet, is generally felt to be covered within that freedom.

This raises the question, what next?   Are the police going to be monitoring football chants?  Obviously yes they already do and the authorities and indeed regular members of the public have been active in getting racist chanting out of a lot of our society.

But criticism of cultures is not the same as racism, so are we really now about to lose that freedom to criticise cultural choices and traditions as well?  No more protesting against the way women are treated in some societies?  Calmly accepting the complete abolition of the rights of women in Afghanistan?

And since the owners of Newcastle don’t like people consuming any alcohol, will they stop the sale of alcohol at the Newcastle ground – and logically ask other clubs not to sell alcohol in the away ends of other grounds to Newcastle followers?

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And then I guess they will say either no women at Newcastle games, or perhaps sexual segregation as apparently their religion commands (although I can’t confirm that it does since I am an athiest).

Of course that all seems preposterous, and yet seriously, “Police are carrying out inquiries into a banner unveiled by Crystal Palace fans before Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle,” according to the Guardian.

A banner that listed offences that the Saudi regime is responsible for, including terrorism, beheadings, civil rights abuse, murder, persecution and censorship.

As the fans said, “To give the thumbs up to the deal at a time when the Premier League is promoting the women’s game and inclusive initiatives such as rainbow armbands shows the total hypocrisy at play.”

The Crystal Palace official lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters group “posted a video on their Twitter account which highlighted the imprisonment of Suhail al-Jameel in Saudi Arabia,” adding “We want to pick up the baton started by our counterparts at Spurs, LGBT group Proud Lilywhites by raising awareness of Suhail al-Jameel.Suhail, in prison in Saudi Arabia for three years for being gay.

“Suhail al-Jameel.Suhail has also “been subjected to 800 lashes as part of his punishment. We don’t believe these owners have a place in the Premier League and we want to keep raising awareness,” announced the group.

The chief executive of Leeds took up the issue, writing in the club programme, “The media and public have been left debating why the Premier League owners directors test is harder to fail than GCSE PE, but now our real focus should be on how the new owners of Newcastle embrace the values of equality, diversity and inclusion that are core to every club’s membership of the greatest league in the world.”

Meanwhile back with the Guardian it is reported that the new owners of Newcastle United “had laid claim to the values of inclusivity,” which given that behind the owners is the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Saudi Arabia would be an hilarious statement, if it were not so utterly tragic.

18 comments to Plans are being laid to outlaw protests against Saudi involvement in Newcastle

  • Brian Dawes

    If you are allowed to protest in our green and pleasant land by disrupting the flow of good citizens on a public highway why can’t you protest about 13th century religious laws that encourage beheading and the murder of journalists as the norm.

  • Nitram

    Maybe when Newcastle visit the Em’s we should ban the sale of Alcohol in the away end, separate the men from the ladies, turn away all non heterosexuals, any women with an education as well as all non believers and see what reaction we get. If it’s anything other than total compliance maybe they should be gently reminded that this is exactly what they were dancing in the streets in acceptance of just a few weeks ago.

    Maybe hitting them personally with the realities of what they have so enthusiastically embraced will open their eyes.

  • Nitram

    HT at old toilet. 0-4

    If Liverpool can get another 6 we’ll go above United 😄

  • Chris

    Well, I am expecting what the press will tell as a story…remembering the BS we took when Arsenal lost to Pool….

  • Zedsaunt

    All the chickens come home. Keita stretchered off, Pogba sent off The PGMO twitching their noses.

  • Charles

    OI have soent the last 1/2 hour searching for a league table that shows ‘Goals for’ and ‘goals against’ the colums usually headed as F A. I can’t find a league with this information. Is there one? If not can Untold provide us with one please.
    I checked the club website and could find a league table!

  • John L

    I was disappointed with Liverpool. They could and should have scored 10, but decided to stop at 5.

    Ronaldo and Fernández should also have had red cards.

    VAR may now be scrapped after this weekend. Red Card to Man Utd and penalty to Arsenal!!!

    Heads must roll!

  • AllanC

    The issue of Newcastle withdrawing their objection to arab clothing and the investigation into the Crystal Palace Holmesdale banner, I think are evidence of the new Newcastle ownership flexing their muscle. They seem to be starting the ‘sports washing’ process immediately. I hope that these incidents start meaningful public discussions which force The Premier League into giving some meaningful answers. I also hope the whole football community take up this issue and don’t let it drop.

  • Dublin Gooner

    Looks like the Newcastle takeover is going to provide interesting fodder for this site.
    But I urge you to follow the official narrative, as per the BBC. You have referred to the “Saudi regime “. This is not on. You can refer to the Syrian regime or the Iran regime, that is ok because they are official enemies. But the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the biggest customer of the U.K. arms industry. So it’s ruled by a government, not a regime.

  • Nitram

    So it’s a Saudi ‘Government’ that Executes and Tortures people. Bans Free Speech and Protests. Discriminates against Women, Gays and Migrant Workers, and not a ‘Regime’ ?

    I’m glad we got that sorted.

    https://www.amnesty.org.uk/saudi-arabia-human-rights-raif-badawi-king-salman

  • Dublin Gooner

    Ah, Nitram, what can I say? It would take too long to explain and I’m afraid you’d still miss the point.

  • Nitram

    Go on. Give it a go.

  • Nitram

    Dublin Gooner.

    Re read your comment. Alas your sarcasm was too subtle. My apologies.

  • Charles

    Hello tony. Thank you for the link. Much appreciated.

  • Jack

    Dublin Gooner

    I’ll explain.

    UK trades with Saudi Arabia. There is revenue flow from Saudi Arabia to UK Government. Revenue that ultimately pays UK workers and funds government projects.

    It’s pretentious to give us a tired moralist argument on Sale of Newcastle to Saudi Owners but condone other forms of trade with Saudi Government.

    Let’s see protests to other forms of Trade with Saudi Arabia. Let us see protests when UK sells arms to Saudi Arabia. If UK can sell arms to Bin Salman then Bin Salman can also buy clubs in England.

  • Dublin Gooner

    @Jack,
    thanks. Spot on.
    Now let’s hope for a win tonight.

  • Nitram

    But who says I condone anything this or any government does ? Certainly not me. I don’t know where you got that from? And I do protest. It’s called a vote. Anyway I’ve also said on here I don’t agree with it, the very same place I have voiced my concerns about the Newcastle deal.

    In the final analysis simply saying the Government does it so that justifies Newcastle doing it is just a cop out.

    Jeez if we all took this Government’s levels of honesty and morality as our compass none of us would ever utter a word of truth again, so using this Government’s actions to justify anything is pretty desperate don’t you think ?

    It’s YOUR opinion that there’s nothing wrong with the Newcastles deal, and that’s between you and your conscience, so please stop blaming the Government.

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