December 05, 2021

Newcastle United takeover: No further action over Crystal Palace fans' banner criticising Magpies' new owners, police say

October 25, 2021

No further action will be taken over a banner unveiled by Crystal Palace fans protesting the takeover of Newcastle United by a Saudi-led consortium, police have said.

The graphic sign, held up before Saturday's 1-1 draw between the Premier League sides at Selhurst Park, showed a man wearing Arab-style clothing wielding a bloodied sword seemingly about to behead a magpie, as faceless supporters in the background sing: "We've got our club back."

It also listed offences the regime is accused of by human rights groups - terrorism, beheading, civil rights abuses, murder, censorship and persecution - which were all ticked off on a clipboard under the heading "Premier League Owners Test".

Meanwhile, the top-flight league's chief executive Richard Masters was depicted giving a thumbs-up to a bag of cash, standing in a pool of blood.

The Croydon branch of the Metropolitan Police Service said on Sunday that it was investigating a report of an "offensive banner," adding that "any allegations of racist abuse would be taken very seriously".

But the force has now confirmed that no further action will be taken.

In a tweet, Croydon MPS said: "On Saturday, a member of the public contacted us to raise concerns about a banner displayed at the Crystal Palace vs Newcastle match at Selhurst Park.

"Following an assessment, officers have concluded that no offences have been committed. No further action will be taken."

The incident came after the controversial go-ahead was given for a consortium led by Saudi Arabia's state sovereign wealth fund - known as the Public Investment Fund or PIF - to take control of Newcastle United, which has the nickname The Magpies, in a £300m deal, earlier this month.

This was despite the closeness of the fund to the Saudi state, which has faced criticism over its human rights record.

PIF is chaired by Saudi's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was linked to the 2018 murder of exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi, although he has denied any involvement.

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