Newcastle United is, as most expected and knew was coming, getting the type of reaction and rejection that a Saudi-backed takeover brings along with it.
After organizing a preseason schedule based on a training camp to be held in Austria that includes two friendlies against 1860 Munich (July 15) and Mainz 05 (July 18), supporters from the latter club have made a statement in which they beg the club to cancel the game against the Magpies altogether.
The collective Supporters Mainz has criticized Mainz’s position and willingness to organize a friendly against the Tyneside organization by stating that “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”. To that, the fans added that “it is no longer possible to separate football and politics.”
In critiquing their own club’s policy of match-arranging, Supporters Mainz made it clear that they “call on Mainz 05: Take a stand! Read your mission statement! Cancel the game against Newcastle United!” Clearer than a sky empty of clouds, fellas.
Adding context to their full released statement, the fans pointed out that “authoritarian states, large corporations or billionaires are taking over international football in order to assert their interests” and framed their club’s view of the issue by saying that “with the decision to play a friendly match against Newcastle United, Mainz is sending a signal and not a good one... Mainz is actively offering the Saudi regime a stage and thus indirectly recognizing it politically.”
At the time of this writing, Newcastle doesn’t plan to cancel the friendly and is still considering it a sure thing to happen later this month as part of their training camp as they gear up for the upcoming Premier League season.