‘Unthinkable’ - German chiefs forced to defend Newcastle United friendly agreement

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Mainz 05 have been heavily criticised by their supporters for arranging a pre-season friendly with Newcastle United.

Newcastle United’s friendly with Mainz 05 will go ahead as planned, despite criticism from the Bundesliga club’s supporters.

Eddie Howe’s men take on the German side on Monday, July 18 at the Kutstein Arena as part of their pre-season training camp in Austria, which also includes a fixture against 1860 Munich three days prior.

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However, the Magpies have faced a backlash since announcing the two friendlies last week.

A Mainz fan group published an open letter requesting the match to be cancelled in protest of United’s Saudi Arabian-backed owners.

Mainz have been forced to release a statement deciding their friendly against Newcastle and revealed cancelling was “unthinkable” due to contractual and economic obligations.

‘This friendly is important for the preparation of the team’

Stefan Hofmann, chairman of Mainz, said: “For us, a friendly against a traditional English club is first and foremost a sporting test of strength.

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“This friendly is also particularly important for the preparation of the team. That’s why, after weighing up the various perspectives and in the absence of an alternative opponent who is at this level of play and too was not available at that time, agreed on this game.

“We didn’t expect the reaction from some fans in this form. We respect this and regret that this has caused irritation because we see it as our responsibility to start the season with all the fans as a cohesive unit.”

‘A cancellation is unthinkable’

Sporting director Christian Heidel added: “From a sporting perspective, we cannot do without this test match.

“A unilateral cancellation by us, as demanded by some fans, is unthinkable, as this could have serious legal and economic consequences for us and us due to the contractual obligations fundamentally stand by our contractual agreements.”

Howe’s side fly out to Austria next week after they host National League side Gateshead in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Saturday.

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