Mainz fans call for club to cancel friendly with Newcastle over Saudi ownership 1 month ago

Mainz fans call for club to cancel friendly with Newcastle over Saudi ownership

The club's supporters issued a statement urging the club to reverse their decision

Supporters of Bundesliga side Mainz 05 have urged their club to cancel their upcoming pre-season friendly against Newcastle United in protest over the Magpies' Saudi ownership.

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Newcastle have received heavy backlash ever since the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) bought an 80 per cent majority stake in the club last October, given Saudi Arabia's abhorrent human rights record.

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'With a game against Newcastle United, Mainz also actively offers the Saudi regime a stage'

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Eddie Howe's side are in Germany as part of their pre-season preparations, facing 1860 Munich before taking on Mainz three days later.

However, supporters of Mainz are strongly opposed to playing the friendly, insisting that it doesn't align with the club's values and have called for their side to pull out of the fixture.

A statement said: "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 diametrically opposed to the values and mission statement of Mainz 05.

"At a time when authoritarian states, large corporations or billionaires are taking over international football in order to assert their interests, it is no longer possible to separate football and politics.

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"With a game against Newcastle United, Mainz also actively offers the Saudi regime a stage and thus indirectly recognises it politically.

"We call on Mainz 05: Take a stand! Read your mission statement! Cancel the game against Newcastle United!"

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Mainz boss hits back at fans' protests

Contrary to their beliefs, though, Mainz boss Bo Svensson has a differing opinion and questioned the decision to protest, asking if those wanting the game cancelled have also boycotted several other companies the Saudi PIF have invested into.

"I'm a bit divided, on the one hand, I can understand the arguments, on the other hand, when it comes to football, things are always inflated and made a huge deal of," he told BILD.

"Are the people who are asking for cancellations also doing without Disney films with their children? How far do the consequences go?"

Mainz fans Newcastle

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