Premier League

Police to take no action against Crystal Palace fans over Newcastle banner

Toby Cudworth
Crystal Palace fans unveiled this banner in the Holmesdale End
Crystal Palace fans unveiled this banner in the Holmesdale End / Julian Finney/GettyImages
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Police have confirmed no action will be taken against Crystal Palace supporters for unfurling a banner criticising the recent Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle.

The protest banner showed a man wearing traditional Arab dress with Newcastle's new owners, PIF, written on his thawb, and featured a list of the alleged crimes levelled at the Saudi Arabian government - under a tick-list headlined 'Premier League Owners Test'. The man depicted in the image was also wielding a blood-soaked sword.

However, after a member of the public made an official complaint to police, citing the offensive nature of the banner, the Met have confirmed that inquiries have been completed and stated that no further action will be taken.

“On Saturday 23 October, a member of the public contacted the police to raise concerns about a banner displayed at the Crystal Palace vs Newcastle match at Selhurst Park,” a statement read. “Following an assessment, officers have concluded that no offences have been committed. No further action will be taken.”

There has been widespread condemnation of the Premier League's decision to approve Newcastle's Saudi-led takeover, which ended Mike Ashley's troubled 14-year reign in the North East.

Allegations of human rights abuses, war crimes in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are just some of the issues associated with the club's new owners, but it has been determined that those hold no relevancy because PIF - the club's majority owners with an 80% shareholding - are regarded as a separate entity from the state of Saudi Arabia, and assurances have been provided that they will be the ones in charge of running the football club.

The Premier League have been strongly urged to review the criteria of the owners' and directors' test moving forward, with many keen to put an end to the culture of 'sportswashing' - a practice designed to improve the reputation and standing of a group or organisation by purchasing a controlling stake, sponsoring or participating in sport.

As for Newcastle, they've already had to issue a statement urging supporters to to "refrain from wearing traditional Arabic clothing or Middle East-inspired head coverings at matches," after thousands of fans turned up to the game against Tottenham at St James' Park dressed in such attire.

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