Croydon Police are investigating a banner waved by some Crystal Palace fans at Selhurst Park during the match against Newcastle United last Saturday.

The banner was a response to the recent takeover of Newcastle United by a group that includes Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (chaired by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.) The banner - accurately - accused the Saudi government of civil rights abuses, terrorism, censorship, murder, beheadings, and persecution. (It could have added the Saudi/British/US alliance’s illegal war of aggression against Yemen, but I guess there’s only so much room on one banner.)

The Croydon Police said: “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.”

Is it now to be deemed offensive, even racist, to criticise the Saudi government? Is it going to be illegal for British citizens to criticise the British government’s ally, the Saudi government, just as it is illegal for Saudi citizens to criticise it?

Will Podmore

Clavering Road, Wanstead