Mainz coach’s response amid Newcastle United friendly backlash

The pre-season fixture has attracted criticism from followers of the Bundesliga club.

Mainz 05 coach Bo Svensson has reportedly defended his side’s pre-season friendly against Newcastle United.

The Bundesliga outfit are set to face Eddie Howe’s men as part of a double-header during the Magpies pre-season training camp in Austria.

United will face former Intertoto Cup opponents 1860 Munich on at the Saalfelden Arena on Friday 15th July before facing Mainz at the Kutstein Arena three days later.

The latter fixture has received criticism from Mainz supporters who are said to be unhappy with the Public Investment Fund’s majority interest in the Magpies and the well publicised human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia.

Quoted in German outlet Bild, Danish coach Svensson admitted he had sympathy with the concerns but used PIF’s stake in Disney to defend the arrangement of the fixture.

He said: “On the one hand, I can understand the arguments.

“Whenever it comes to football, things become very inflated and become huge issues.

“How far are we going? Will we also then ban Disney films with our children?”

United will also face a visit to Portuguese giants Benfica following their meeting with Mainz before returning to Tyneside for a St James Park double header against Serie A club Atalanta and former European opponents Athletic Bilbao.