The controversial ownership of Newcastle United by the Saudi Public Investment Fund has prompted Mainz fans to call on their club to cancel a pre-season friendly match.
Although the Premier League allowed takeovers, the matter was not without controversy due to the country’s record on human rights issues and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
That link has been criticized over the past few months, and now Mainz fans want their club to boycott the Magpies, and not play with them for this month’s match.
“Newcastle United is not just a football club, but a vehicle for asserting the interests of a regime that tramples on human rights and whose policies are completely at odds with Mainz 05’s values and mission statement,” a statement read.
“At a time when authoritarian states, big corporations or billionaires take over international football in order to assert their interests, football can no longer be separated from politics.
“Through a match against Newcastle United, Mainz is also actively giving the Saudi regime a stage and thus indirectly recognizing it politically.
“We call on Mainz 05: take a stand! Read your mission statement! CANCEL THE MATCH AGAINST Newcastle United!”
Eddie Howe’s side began their pre-season preparations on Saturday, when they face hometown Gateshead at Newcastle Academy Stadium.
They then travel to Germany, for what are supposed to be two matches, as 1860 will take place in Munich on July 15, before the match with Mainz three days later, if it continues.
There shouldn’t be much concern about canceling the game, with club manager Bo Svensson using Disney’s usual response to the problem, after the Public Investment Fund bought a minority stake in the company in 2020, which looks very different from being a majority owner. Newcastle.
Svensson told Bild: “It’s not an easy topic, I’m a little divided, on the one hand, I can understand the arguments, on the other hand, when it comes to football, things are always blown up and made a huge deal out of it.
“Are people asking for cancellation also behaving without Disney movies with their kids? How far do the consequences go?”
World Cup hosts Qatar had to deal with the cancellation of this summer’s match, with Watford no longer playing for the national team.
It came after pressure from fans, who raised issues with the country’s views on homosexuality, human rights and women’s rights.
Newcastle’s new owners certainly helped them avoid relegation to the Championship last season, as the arrival of Howe, and £90m in upcoming signings, lifted them from the relegation zone to 11th place.
They have already started investing in the upcoming campaign and have even been linked with the Neymar movement, as they look to a higher finishing position.