Football

Magpies grounded by FA

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Newcastle have been advised by the Football Association that they cannot travel to the Dutch city of Utrecht for a pre-season friendly at the end of the month.

Doubts over the fixture had been raised after it emerged Newcastle's north-east rivals Sunderland would be playing in Holland at the same time. Both clubs were due to play just 30 miles apart during the final weekend of the month.

"Following conversations with the KNVB [the Dutch FA] and the Mayor of Amsterdam's office, The FA has reluctantly withdrawn permission for Newcastle United to play a friendly with Utrecht on Sunday 26 July," read an FA statement published on the Newcastle website, www.nufc.co.uk.

The Black Cats are taking part in the famous Amsterdam Tournament, during which they will face Benfica and Atletico Madrid at the Amsterdam ArenA on July 24 and 26, the latter game taking place on the same day that Magpies are scheduled to face FC Utrecht.

The fixture clash gave way to concerns that trouble could emerge with supporters of both clubs likely to be booked on the same flights and ferries to make the trip across the North Sea.

Amsterdam's mayor, Job Cohen, was so concerned by the potential for trouble that he called for Sunderland to be banned from the tournament, but the FA have ruled that Newcastle will have to miss out as tickets for Sunderland's trip had already gone on sale.

The statement continued: "Sunderland had applied for permission to participate in the Amsterdam tournament, with matches on 24 and 26 July, while Newcastle applied to play Utrecht on 26 July.

"After liaising with the KNVB and the UK and Dutch Police, permission was given to both clubs with assurances made to the FA that there were no objections to both teams playing in Holland at the same time.

"Following concerns raised by the Mayor of Amsterdam, it became clear that only one of the two teams would be able to travel to Holland and The FA actively sought to resolve the situation.

"Priority was given to Sunderland for three reasons; their application to play was received first, tickets have already been sold to their supporters, and travel arrangements have already been made. Newcastle United have not yet sold any tickets to their supporters."

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Topics:
Sunderland
Football
Premier League
Newcastle United

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