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Police investigating reports of offensive banner at Crystal Palace v Newcastle match

Police investigating Crystal Palace banner.

Police in England are investigating reports of an offensive banner held among Crystal Palace supporters during their match against Newcastle United yesterday.

The sign appeared to highlight human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, after a consortium led by the country’s Public Investment Fund took control of Newcastle earlier this month.

It also depicted a person seemingly about to behead a magpie, a reference to the North-East club’s nickname, while joyous supporters sing “we’ve got our club back.”

Police: Allegations will be taken very seriously.

Newcastle fans have largely welcomed the Saudi-led takeover of their club despite widespread misgivings about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

Croydon Police shared a tweet on Saturday evening which read: “On Saturday 23 October police received a report of an offensive banner displayed by Crystal Palace fans. Officers are assessing the information and carrying out enquiries. Any allegations of racist abuse will be taken very seriously.”

Crystal Palace fan group explain banner.

As the game was ongoing, Palace supporter group Holmesdale Fanatics issued a statement explaining their reasoning behind unveiling the banner.

“The Saudi led takeover of Newcastle has rightly received widespread condemnation and anger,” they wrote.

“To give the thumbs up to this 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 and demonstrates the league’s soulless agenda where profits trump all.

Newcastle supporters deemed “deluded.”

“Newcastle, as a team, is now being used to sportswash the blood from the hands of a corrupt governance and deluded supporters should consider that reality when singing of ‘getting their club back’.

“We are lucky to live in a country where we can display a banner such as this without repercussion.

“Many in Saudi Arabia wish they were afforded those same basic rights.”

On the pitch, the two sides played out a 1-1 draw, with Christian Benteke getting on the scoresheet for Palace before Callum Wilson equalised for the visitors.

It was Graeme Jones’ first game in caretaker charge of Newcastle, after Steve Bruce was dismissed by the new owners earlier this week.

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