Soccer-Newcastle urge supporters to refrain from wearing traditional Arabic attire at games

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - General views outside Newcastle United's St James' Park stadium - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - October 7, 2021 General view of the Bobby Robson Statue outside Newcastle United's St James' Park stadium Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

(Reuters) - Newcastle United have urged fans to refrain from wearing traditional Arabic attire or Middle East-inspired head coverings at games, the Premier League club said in a statement on Wednesday.

Newcastle were acquired by a Saudi Arabia-led consortium earlier this month.

A number of supporters turned up in robes and head coverings for the home clash against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, the first game since the takeover.

"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," the club said.

"However, there remains the possibility that dressing this way is culturally inappropriate and risks causing offence to others."

"All visitors to the club are... 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."

Equality and inclusion group Kick It Out are reportedly planning to offer education workshops in Newcastle to supporters to explain how impersonating Arabs could be considered be racist or culturally insensitive.

British MPs this week also criticised Newcastle fans for donning homemade keffiyehs, while ignoring the Saudi Arabian state's human right abuses.

Earlier on Wednesday, Newcastle announced that manager Steve Bruce had left the club by mutual consent, with his assistant Graeme Jones set to take charge on an interim basis.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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